Conversion Therapists Still Trying to Change Sexual Orientation?

Conversion Therapists Still Trying to Change Sexual Orientation?

In 2012? You Betcha!

Think conversion therapy is a thing of the past?

Think America has finally embraced GBLT rights?

Think again.

Our country is polarizing on a lot of political issues, and gay rights is one of those topics that is dividing the country in two. On the one side, we have progressive liberals who are fighting hard to promote gay marriage and equal rights regardless of sexual orientation. On the other side we’ve got an increasingly vocal conservative and religious political base fighting to stuff the GBLT community back into the closet.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is heading up the battle in a milestone lawsuit against JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing), a conversion therapy counseling group that tried to make four gay men straight through the controversial conversion therapy.

The SPLC, an equal rights organization, has put forth the trouble to identify conversion therapists across the country. Thus far they have identified over 70 conversion therapists in the country.

Conversion therapy is considered quite dangerous. It is expensive (costing up to $10,000 a year) and goes against the ruling of the (American Psychiatric Association) APA’s determination that homosexuality is not a mental illness. Most mainstream therapists agree that it is emotionally unhealthy (and even abusive) to try to change or suppress a client’s sexual orientation through therapy. Licensed therapists are required to follow the guidelines presented by the APA, which means they are not allowed to try to use therapeutic methods to try to influence a patient’s sexual orientation.

And yet conversion therapists still operate in this country. In fact, National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) has filed a lawsuit against the State of California, trying to reverse the state’s groundbreaking ban on conversion therapy for minors. NARTH insists they are providing a much-needed service to people who have “unwanted homosexual” urges or orientations.

Believe it or not, conversion therapy is legal, even for minors (we’re talking kids as young as three years old, folks) in every state in the country except California. Not only are adults choosing to endure emotional abuse in the guise of helpful therapy, but children are also being subjected, often against their will, to this incredibly dangerous and harmful practice.

Why This Matters to Me:

As a writer who believes in getting the truth out there and supporting equal rights any way I can, I will be updating news about conversion therapy here on my site, providing links to helpful resources.

Please check in from time to time to learn about progress in the gay rights battle as I research for my upcoming books. I’ll be sharing the information I learn here.

Conversion Therapists Won’t Stop Despite Lawsuit

Conversion Therapists Won’t Stop Despite Lawsuit

Despite the fact that four men have brought a lawsuit against prominent conversion therapists in New Jersey, conversion therapists are coming out loud and clear with this message: They won’t stop practicing conversion therapy until they are legally prevented from doing so.

Conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, is a practice that is denounced by the APA, the American Psychiatric Association, as unhealthy and unethical. Conversion therapy is based upon the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder or a form of spiritual sickness and can be corrected through therapeutic methods. Proponents of conversion therapy claim they can make gay men and women straight (or at least decrease sexual urges to the point of being manageable – meaning to the point where a gay man or lesbian might be able to deny his or her sexuality and remain celibate) through a variety of therapeutic methods.

The lawsuit against JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing) is a consumer fraud lawsuit, claiming JONAH promised to make these four men straight, and instead caused them emotional pain and distress without results. A lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center is representing the four clients in the case. Go SPLC!

You can read more about the lawsuit against JONAH here.

Conversion Therapist Response
You’d think the people at JONAH would back off a little, seeing as they’re getting sued and all. Nope. Instead one of the directors at JONAH said (in a public statement delivered to CNN) “We remain steadfast in our commitment to assist those with unwanted same-sex attractions.”

Likewise, NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) is suing the State of California after the state passed a law making it illegal for minors to undergo conversion therapy in the state. NARTH insists that conversion therapy is not only helpful, but also necessary and argues that denying minors the option to get “assistance with unwanted same-sex attraction” is unconstitutional.

You can read more about NARTH’s lawsuit here.

Why This Matters to Me:

As an author working on two books addressing conversion therapy, I keep up on the latest legal developments.

Return here to get updates on these two lawsuits as they progress.