Ending Reparative Therapy

Written by Brittany Brown





Anecdotal stories of a harmful practice have cropped up over the years, with brief coverage in the mainstream. We saw a revival of this conversation most recently with the 2016 election when Mike Pence was appointed as Donald Trump’s running mate, now Vice President. While Pence has been a vocal centerpiece in his own state of Indiana for issues such as limiting women’s reproductive healthcare, marriage equality, and discrimination ordinances, one of the most astounding things that we learned is that Pence is a proponent of gay conversion therapy.

This reminded me of a conversation that I had many years ago in college with a dear friend, and one my fellow members of our campus gay/straight alliance. I sat quietly listening to his story, when he revealed to me that his religious parents had sent him to a popular gay conversation therapy camp called Love in Action, located in Memphis, TN. He didn’t elaborate, and I didn’t push the subject. Much of what we know about “reparative therapy” is still hidden just behind the curtain.

However, there is a growing movement here in the United States to completely ban the use of conversion therapy, especially as it concerns LGBTQ+ youth. It may be surprising to most that while we’ve claimed a victory nationwide with the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality, we are still battling an underground threat with strong ties throughout religious communities. Through dubious tactics, these organizations seek to convert its subject from homosexuality to heterosexuality.

These so-called therapies have lifelong impacts, leaving patients in a more vulnerable state than when they arrived, with PTSD and depression being a common result. While the movement to end conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ youth hasn’t quite seen the success we had hoped for, there are still eight states (Nevada, Connecticut, New Mexico, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, and Vermont) and the District of Columbia that have banned the practice.

The fight continues. We must also continue to build on the accomplishments that have been made and extend a hand and listening ear to our youth.


Sources: https://intomore.com/impact/banning-conversion-therapy-a-national-movement-continues-to-grow/622ac52480b2495f 




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