Ban Conversion Therapy in Minnesota
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Conversion therapy is very bad, and it needs to be made illegal. The terms "conversion therapy," "reparative therapy" and "sexual reorientation therapy" all refer to therapies in which mental health practitioners work to change a person's gender identity or sexual orientation. This needs to stop now!
According to a 2009 report of the American Psychological Association, the techniques therapists have used to try to change sexual orientation and gender identity include inducing nausea, vomiting, or paralysis while showing the patient homoerotic images; providing electric shocks; having the individual snap an elastic band around their wrist when aroused by same-sex erotic images or thoughts; using shame to create aversion to same-sex attractions; orgasmic reconditioning; and satiation therapy.
Other techniques include trying to make patients’ behavior more stereotypically feminine or masculine, teaching heterosexual dating skills, using hypnosis to try to redirect desires and arousal, and other techniques—all based on the scientifically discredited premise that being LGBT is a defect or disorder. One person's gay conversion therapist pinned his same-sex attraction on the fact "that he felt inadequate because he had not had sufficient male affirmation in childhood."
The result of this abuse takes the form of increased risk of suicidal thoughts, depression and drug use. A 2009 study published in Pediatrics found that teens who reported experiencing rejection from family members because of their sexual orientation are 8 times more likely to have attempted suicide.
The people who are going through it, or who have, are not just statistics. They are real-life people. For instance, Samuel Brinton, a nuclear scientist who works on energy policy in Washington, D.C., reported seeing ex-gay therapists for years while he was a teenager when his religious parents found out about his orientation.
One of those therapists told Brinton he was the last gay man on Earth and that, because "all gay men had AIDS," the 13-year-old Brinton did as well, he said in an interview with LGBTQ Nation.The therapist also told him his chances of getting into heaven were "shrinking every day."
As if that wasn't bad enough, doctors would also put copper coils around his wrists and blasted them with heat whenever he was shown pictures of men holding hands, he reported. During the course of the treatment, Brinton attempted suicide several times, according to the news report.
Not only are these practices inhumane, offensive, and can ruin someone's life, they are also completely ineffective. Some early studies hint that genetics or the regulation of certain genes may play a role in determining sexual orientation and, at least, indicate that being gay is not a "choice," science suggests.
Because same-sex attraction is not considered a mental disorder, the American Psychological Association, or APA, does not support any therapy that tries to suppress or change it. Despite this, it's still legal in 41 states!
People hate themselves so deeply after going through this torture, which is immeasurable. And that hate doesn’t just hurt them, it affects all of us – especially LGBT folks like me. We need to come together to stop the abuse of children and teens of all ages throughout Minnesota. Together we can change, even save, the lives of so many children who need our help.
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