by James Stout, San Diego, Ca

by James Stout, San Diego, Ca

Conversion Therapy is Back! (And It Still Sucks)

13 Jun, 2017

by James Stout, San Diego, Ca

As the United States continues its headlong dash towards the 1950s, and President Trump leads a moralizing coalition of Christians, Conservatives and Corrupt businessmen towards a world they want to live in, many of the outdated attitudes which we had hoped would be confined to the previous century have made an unwelcome reappearance. Sure, it’s no big deal when hipsters want to wear waistcoats and pocket watches at their artisanal soda fountain. But when our backsliding in the past means taking away women’s right to choose, children’s right to education, people’s right to health and everybody’s right to marry the person they love, it is a sad state of affairs indeed for a country once at the forefront of positive change.

One of the Sepia tinted policies which Vice – President Mike Pence and others have been known to advocate for is known as “Conversion Therapy”. Indeed the largest conversion therapy advocacy group in the USA is meeting in the town were I live this very weekend. The Restored Hope Network is “dedicated to restoring hope to those broken by homosexuality,” and this $175/ticket international convention is being billed as "equipping churches" with tools to "restore hope" and "proclaim truth”.

If you’ve been gay, or read this site, for very long you will be familiar with the basic of Conversion Therapy. However, for those of you coming here for the first time, here is a little refresher: Conversion Therapy is based on the idea that LGBTQ+ people are suffering from a condition which can, and should, be cured. It includes a variety of outdated psychological, religious and physical “treatments”, all of which cause great trauma to people who are neither unwell nor able to change who they are. Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades. Whilst data shows that such therapy does not achieve the desired outcomes, it also shows that it is much more successful in other areas. People who undergo conversion therapy are 8 times more likely to have attempted suicide, 6 times more likely to suffer from depression, 3 times more likely to rely on drugs, and 3 times more likely to have contracted STDs (these figures come from a study conducted by San Francisco State University’s Family Acceptance Project).

Opposing this kind of therapy is, whether you are gay or straight, Christian or atheist, the right thing to do. Not only does it divert scarce resources, it also directly causes terrible psychological harm to people who are looking for acceptance and love in a difficult time in their lives. For those of our readers who have come out, imagine doing so into an environment where you were seen as unwell and immediately forced to undergo brainwashing in order to cure you of being the person you had just summoned up the courage to tell people you were. There is an industry here which makes money, lots of money judging by their ticket prices and their choice of the Hilton hotel, out of causing people to kill themselves. Ever major health, psychology, counselling and social work group in the USA opposes the use of Conversion Therapy and yet, during pride month, there is still a group peddling and profiting from self loathing .

For those in San Diego interested in participating, or those interested in lending a hand online, the San Diego Coalition Against Gay Conversion’s page and social media can be found @CoalitionAgainstConversion or using the hashtags #NOPE2017 #NoProfitInAbuse

Please feel free to reach out with your own stories of Conversion Therapy and ideas for actions against it.