Gay Conversion Therapy: ABC News 20/20 Yearlong Investigation

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 “Gay conversion therapy advocates heartened by Republican electoral victories”

Gay conversion therapy, the idea that one can change ones sexual orientation or gender identity through intensive and extreme psychological reparative therapies or simply “praying the gay away” at fundamentalist Christian camps, has been widely debunked and denounced by the medical and psychiatric professions.  Moreover, the practice has been outlawed in six states  and the District of Columbia because it can actually harms those subjected to it.

 

Sadly it may be poised for a resurgence according to a new article by ABC News’ Brian Ross and Brian Epstein.  From their report,

“Advocates of long-discredited gay conversion therapy programs say they are heartened by the election of Donald Trump and are counting on Vice President Mike Pence and congressional Republicans to help fight off efforts to make such programs illegal.”

‘I certainly hope that this administration will pull back from some of the aggressive activism that the Obama administration engaged in,’ said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, a powerful conservative lobbying group in Washington that is active in supporting sexual reorientation efforts.

At the Republican National Convention last year, delegates voted for a party platform that appeared to tacitly endorse the right of parents to send their teens to conversion programs, supporting the ‘right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.’

The party position mirrors the position of the Family Research Council, which considers sexual reorientation therapy mental health care.  ‘If someone is experiencing something mentally, like same-sex attractions, that is causing distress, then that’s a mental health issue,’ Sprigg said.”

Full ABC News report HERE

This Friday night, ABC’s 20/20 will air their yearlong investigation into gay conversion therapy. 

“The “20/20” report includes revelations of two programs that conducted conversion therapy in Alabama, including one in which Christian pastors overseeing dozens of teens were convicted of child abuse amid stark allegations of beatings administered to teens who resisted efforts to change their sexual orientation.”

 

LGBT children need to be protected from the mental, emotional and physical abuse of conversion therapy.   As a Community we have a responsibility to those coming up and coming out, especially in states where they have no places to go for support, to advocate for them and at the very least stop the added danger they face from these practices. 

According to SPEAK (Suicide Prevention Education Awareness for Kids)

  • Suicide is the leading cause of death among Gay and Lesbian youth nationally.
  • 30% of Gay youth attempt suicide near the age of 15.
  • Gays and Lesbians are two to six times more likely to suicide than Heterosexuals.
  • Almost half of the Gay and Lesbian teens state they have attempted suicide more than once.
  • It has been conservatively estimated the 1,500 Gay and Lesbian youth commit suicide every year.

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