Gay Aversion Therapy - You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me!
Hooray for Governor Christie of New Jersey (I never thought I would ever utter those words) for signing a bill to ban Gay Aversion Therapy from being practiced in the state of New Jersey, and thank you California for being the first to ban this reprehensible form of treatment. But how can you even call this "therapy" as a humanitarian treatment?
According to Stephanie Pappas in an Lifetimes.com article" called Five Surprising Facts About Gay Aversion Therapy (June 2013), the practice of Gay Aversion Therapy in its many forms, dates back to the 1950s and earlier. "Unusually cruel and inhuman medical treatments such as using electroshock therapy, transplanting testicles from "straight" men into the scrotums of gay men (unbelievable), and performing lobotomies using an icepick type instrument through the eye socket" were used to cure homosexuals of their same sex desires with shocking frequency.
Many of those so-called treatments left physically healthy gay men and women institutionalized for the rest of their lives in a vegetative state.
When I first heard of Governor Christie’s actions, knowing full well his negative position on same sex marriage, I wondered how my own state of New York hadn’t already banned this therapy, as New Jersey and California had. How can the birthplace of the Stonewall movement not have banned this (its even difficult to use the word therapy here) to turn gays straight years ago?
Fortunately, in doing my research for this article, I read that both New York and Massachusetts, which have also legalized same sex marriage, have also put forth legislation this year to ban Gay Aversion Therapy in their respective state legislatures.
But, what took so long, and what’s the problem in ridding the world of this unnatural therapy? Are the bigots and religious fanatics that use the Bible to shame our community so powerful that this form of therapy continues to be practiced in the "land of the free and home of the brave?"
Even Sigmund Freud, the "father of psychology," was openly opposed to turning homosexual men or lesbians from their sexual orientation, saying that to do so was both impractical and unwarranted. Freud is even quoted as saying in his response to a mother who wanted her homosexual son changed to heterosexual in 1935 that, "homosexuality is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness."
Then again, how can my colleagues in the therapeutic profession that I practice be willing to do take people’s money to perform work that the APA (American Psychiatric Association) has decried as ineffective and unnecessary ever since 1973, when the APA finally removed homosexuality as a mental disorder? It just goes to show us all that there are those individuals who will do anything for money, or, if not for financial gain, under a serious misconception of human sexuality.
Why do some people (religious zealots mostly) continue to believe that you can change someone’s God-given sexual orientation? Or that we as members of the GLBT community can simply chose to be gay as if we are choosing to watch "The Tonight Show" instead of "David Letterman," or opt to order steak instead of sushi?
On a more positive note, on my weekly commute from my teaching job, I heard the uplifting song "Same Love," with these honest and truthful lyrics: "I can’t change, even if I tried. Even if I wanted to." To hear that song coming from a rap artist who goes so far as to say, "If I were gay, I would think hipa hop hates me," also pleased me to no end, knowing full well that there are many within this country who continue to view gays as beneath contempt and not worthy of being in their presence.
But the lyrics of the song also clearly make mention of the practice of Gay Aversion Therapy with the words: "The right wing conservatives think its a decision. And you can be cured with some treatment and religion. Man made rewiring of a predisposition. Playing God.."
So, those who try to "play God" have no right to, and if they are trying to shame their sons and daughters for being gay, they are the ones who should be ashamed for even considering aversion therapy for their children. And those gays and lesbians fearing the ostracism of their families if they do not seek help to change their sexuality should never be forced to do anything that they know is wrong.
Instead, if you are in conflict with your sexuality, seek psychotherapy to help give you the comfort and support you so richly deserve. After all, therapy is meant to help, not hurt you. Torture is meant to inflict pain, and Gay Aversion Therapy is torture, despite the hype!
In the words of the 12 Step Program for recovery for addiction (and being gay is not a sexual addiction), there is a saying that goes: "I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it."
Those who wish to change us gays should follow those words and listen to the song ’"Same Love" over and over until the message finally sinks in: That it is not anyone’s job or, responsibility, to change someone who does not want to change but, who simply wishes to be loved for who they are.
In the words of Mother Theresa, who loved everybody: "If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
STOP GAY AVERSION THERAPY EVERYWHERE!