The unsustainable claim of the ex-gay movement that homosexuality can be ‘cured’ through reparative therapy featured in Polari numerous times this year. The movement is either gathering steam or it’s just shouting louder. Whenever they appear there is always a backlash, which is what happened when the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, banned a proposed advertisement promoting ex-gay pride on London buses. (Read the article: The Ex-Gay Movement Strikes Back.) No matter, the ex-gay movement strides forth, undaunted by opposition, and there is nothing to effectively regulate it.
A bill to legally regulate the ex-gay movement’s conversion therapy passed the judiciary committee in the California Senate last week. This historic bill, introduced by Senator Ted W. Lieu, would ban children under 18 from undergoing such therapy. It would also require that adults seeking treatment sign an informed consent form to show that they understand there is no medical basis for reparative therapy, as well as its potential dangers, which include depression and suicide. This will be the first time that this untenable practice would be regulated under the law.
Senator’s Lieu’s official statement on reparative therapy is unequivocal. “Under the guise of a California license, some therapists are taking advantage of vulnerable people by pushing dangerous sexual orientation-change efforts. These bogus efforts have led in some cases to patients later committing suicide, as well as severe mental and physical anguish. This is junk science and it must stop.”
The ex-gay movement bases its ideas on the understanding that homosexuality is a choice. The Family Research Council, a supporter of the ex-gay movement, has called on its members to oppose the bill on the grounds that it is an assault on liberty. “The California Association of Marriage and Family, an independent network of 30,000 marriage and family therapists, have rejected this political power grab. Gay clients have a right to receive the treatment of their choosing and therapists have a right to provide it without government harassment. Make no mistake, this is more than an assault on the therapist client relationship, it is an assault on religious liberty. Helping drive this attack is an outright disdain for the religious convictions that often motivate people to seek help for their homosexual attractions.” This is how the new right markets its agenda: they dress prejudice in democratic drag and hope that no one notices the inescapable contradictions.
The teachers of the ex-gay circus have travelled from the US to Europe. I hope that the legal protection against its lies and deflections will follow.
To read about Senator Lieu’s campaign, click here.
To read about the Family Research Council click here to read an informative article on the Southern Poverty Law Center website.