August 19th, 2013

New Jersey ban on conversion therapy for gay youths

New Jersey has become the second state (California being the first) to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for those under 18:

“Ex-gay” conversion is widely discredited and refuted by major mainstream psychological groups, such as American Psychological Association. In June, the largest ex-gay group, Exodus International, closed its doors after its executive director Alan Chambers issued an apology acknowledging “the pain and hurt others have experienced” through failed attempts at conversion therapy.

Troy Stevenson, executive director of New Jersey’s LGBT group Garden State Equality, commended Christie for signing the legislation, citing the harm “ex-gay” therapy can cause.

“There is no greater achievement than helping to stop the abuse of our youth,” Stevenson said. “Today’s SOCE ban will do just that. It will protect young people from being abused by those they should trust the most, their parents and their “doctors.”

A similar bill is being challenged in the California courts as:

…”a slippery slope of government infringing upon the First Amendment rights” of counselors and therapists who want to provide counseling consistent with their religious beliefs.

“This bill is so broad that parents would be prohibited from seeking help for their son who developed unwanted same-sex attractions after being molested by the likes of Jerry Sandusky,” Staver added. “Counselors would only be allowed to affirm these unwanted feelings as good and normal.

The bill is limited to therapy with minors, and this article states that “The New Jersey legislation would not ban conversion therapy by religious counselors.” But does anyone really think the religious exemption will be long for this world?

I have so far been unable to find the text of the New Jersey bill (if a reader can locate it, please post a link in the comments), which would be helpful in understanding what’s really being banned here. Is it only therapy explicitly labeled “conversion therapy,” therapy which has as its stated goal the conversion of minors who identify as gay into ones identifying as straight? Is it only therapy initiated by parents for the children against the child’s will, or is a child him/herself banned from seeking such therapy? What if this is not the explicit goal of the therapy, but the topic comes up during the course of therapy anyway because the child brings it up? Is the therapist then only allowed to voice positive glowing recommendations of the gay life, or is the therapist allowed to say that being straight isn’t so very bad either, especially to a child who is still uncertain of his/her sexual identity at such a tender age? How much praise or negativity of the gay or straight life is too much? And of course, how will this be enforced, and what is the penalty?

It is no use pretending that therapy—and the licensing of therapists by the state—is not at least partly a political endeavor subject to political fashion rather than a science. Nor should therapists be completely unrestricted. For example, therapists are already prohibited from sexual contact with patients—even willing patients, even adult patients—because it is considered inherently exploitative. But the most harmful practices that could be used by conversion therapists (for example, electric shock) could be banned without banning the entire enterprise. And as the articles point out, mainstream therapy organizations have already condemned conversion therapy and do not advocate it.

But apparently none of that would be enough for the advocates of this bill; the therapy itself must be defined by the government as inherently and unfailingly abusive (what’s next, taking children away from parents who don’t applaud and celebrate their gayness?) As the nanny state grows, so will these essentially political moves by the government. This bill opens the door for a host of governmental abuses in which the state dictates the enforcement of politically correct thought through the mechanism of so-called therapy, and therapists become the instruments by which the public is indoctrinated in what is currently politically acceptable and what is verboten.

Chilling, indeed.

50 Responses to “New Jersey ban on conversion therapy for gay youths”

  1. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    This is a great example of the failure of mental health issues to be fully thought out. Except for the most delusional or violent (and perhaps not even then) conditions, there is little common ground on what is “normal”. The more modern politically assumption that everything is fixed by genetics at birth (particularly with sexuality) seems to limit acceptance of most therapies. The most extreme case is sex change operations, it being assumed that the body is incorrect for the mind/brain rather than the other way around. But the government and institutions seem to accept that extreme surgical therapy is ok to change the body to appear more like the opposite sex. I would think that unless truly abusive, a purely talking therapy should be at least as permissible under law.

  2. vanderleun Says:

    “what’s next, taking children away from parents who don’t applaud and celebrate their gayness?”

    Not “next” but it is clearly on the schedule.

  3. George Pal Says:

    I expect the devolution to continue, next on the agenda – pedophiles. Their champions (an orgaization called B4U Act) have already petitioned the psychiatric board that oversees the DSM to delist pedophilia as a disorder. It seems any naturally occurring deviancy is ipso facto natural and should not be subject to judgements or even in the case of the petition any therapy. Of course decriminalization would follow. From B4U Act:

    “Stigmatizing and stereotyping minor-attracted people inflames the fears of minor-attracted people, mental health professionals and the public, without contributing to an understanding of minor-attracted people or the issue of child sexual abuse”

    All right you moms and dads, don’t go worrying about your children, think of the fear you inflame in minor-attracted people.

    Ah well, brave new world and interesting times; to understand is as good as a cure.

  4. blert Says:

    We’re violating the First Amendment: Big Government is now a rabbi/ priest/ reverend/ imam… and that last is r e a l l y scary.

    Big Mama now wants to control what we believe.

    Upset parents, be damned.

  5. Ann Says:

    It’s going to be interesting hearing Chris Christie defend his signing of the bill.

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    Ann:

    Well, he’s already done that—it’s in some of the articles:

    “At the outset of this debate, I expressed my concerns about government limiting parental choice on the care and treatment of their own children,” Christie said. “I still have those concerns. Government should tread carefully into this area and I do so here reluctantly. I have scrutinized this piece of legislation with that concern in mind.”

    The Republican governor added the mental health risks of attempting to change a child’s sexual orientation outweigh concerns over the government encroaching on parental choice.

    “I also believe that on issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards,” Christie said. “The American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate. Based upon this analysis, I sign this bill into law.”

    It is also the case (although the articles don’t mention this, so I assume Christie didn’t mention it either) that the legislature had the votes to override any veto. So I imagine his decision was partly pragmatic as well; he didn’t pick this hill to fight on.

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Political correctness and socialism are interrelated.

    In any socialistic system, to retain its viability and ability to grant entitlements, ideologically necessary to achieve equality of outcome, socialist managers MUST keep from “running out of other people’s money”. To avoid that eventuality, a socialistic society must incrementally seize more and more, until it has seized all income and material assets.

    As a socialistic system incrementally seizes more and more of the productive assets of a society, an interrelated equal but opposite reaction occurs and protests arise.

    To minimize protest, political correctness is imposed.

    As seizure of assets and protest are interrelated, increasing imposition of political correctness is necessary and thus ALL thought, speech and behavior MUST eventually be classified as either forbidden or mandatory.

    Thus socialism MUST evolve into a regulated tyranny, political correctness taken to its end state. Eventuating in an evolution of socialism into a de facto regulated, bureaucratic form of Communism. Communism is binary in nature; only what is forbidden and what is mandatory may be allowed to exist. Every aspect of life must be defined in one or the other category.

    “We can’t expect America to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders into repeatedly and gradually giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism.” – Nikita Khrushchev

  8. CV Says:

    DJG,

    You make a good point about the growing acceptance of sex reassignment surgery, which stands in contrast to attitudes toward the therapy addressed by the New Jersey law.

    Paul McHugh, psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins, has written about the damage caused by sex reassignment surgery:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/02/surgical-sex–35

  9. Ann Says:

    My bad, Neo, — I should have followed the links you provided.

    This, in the Washington Blade linked article, will I imagine give him some trouble:

    “The statement accompanying the signing statement also says Christie believes people are born gay and that homosexuality isn’t a sin — a statement that is contrary to his Catholic faith.”

  10. expat Says:

    Ann,
    I think the Catholic church distinguishes between being a homosexual and having homosexual sex.

    CV,
    McHugh’s article is really good. I have a big problem with the whole transexual movement. It seems to be a bit of a fad right now. I can’t judge whether such people really exist, but the numbers we hear about these days are really fishy.

  11. parker Says:

    “we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards” Experts meaning people predisposed to favor state control over parental decisions. As far as the increasing visibility of those afflicted with ‘transexual’ issues are concerned; I have no way to judge how prevalent it is or if its more than merely confusion about sexuality that will eventually resolve the affliction along the very real hetero-homo sexual divide.

  12. Cornhead Says:

    I’m confident that the black gospel singer Donnie McClurken would disagree with the premise of this law and I’m sure he is not alone.

    Any other therapies or treatments that Christie wants to outlaw?

    That guy can’t win. We are already tired of him in flyover country.

  13. McHenryBob Says:

    Should one infer from Tolerance in the gay community being a one way street that it’s all a system of lies? Perhaps Christie will lower the age of consent to 10, or lower. Are gays who want to change less or more likely to commit suicide if they are told there is no hope? What if they are told to read Kirk and Madsen’s gay manifesto,specifically, that, “born that way” is a lie that shoul be told because it neutralizes the morality issue.

  14. Ann Says:

    expat,
    Yes, I know that the Catholic church distinguishes between being a homosexual and having homosexual sex. But I don’t think Christie is making that distinction here in an interview he did with Piers Morgan a while ago.

  15. JuliB Says:

    I’m a bit tired of the genetic argument myself. When did we decide to toss the requirement for valid scientific evidence for such claims?

  16. Charles Says:

    From everything that I’ve read there is just too much abuse (and little documented benefit) to allow “conversion therapy” of minors to be legal.

    Some parents have been/are willing to believe anything/anyone and allow anything to be done to their children so that they can be “cured” of their homosexuality. This is truly sad.

    There is no slippery slope arguement in this case. This is about protecting children from some of the nastiest forms of abuse by so-called professionals.

    And, of course, it doesn’t surprise me that there are always commenters that somehow or other say “well, if we let gay people . . then next we’ll be letting pedophiles . . .”

    Such comments are just shameful ignorance.

  17. GayPatriot » On long discussions and gay-related policy news Says:

    [...] Neo-neocon expresses reservations similar to mine when she writes: [...]

  18. Gregory of Yardale Says:

    So, will ‘mental health professionals’ also be banned from counseling teenage trannies as they prepare to have their bodies chemically and surgically mutilated into crude facsimiles of the opposite sex?

    No?

    Oh.

    I guess that’s because choosing to change your sex is trendy and cool; whereas choosing to change your sexual orientation is … not.

  19. neo-neocon Says:

    Charles:

    Then ban the abuse, not the therapy. That’s one of the points I tried to make in my post when I wrote, “But the most harmful practices that could be used by conversion therapists (for example, electric shock) could be banned without banning the entire enterprise.”

    Every single type of therapy can be used in an abusive way or a non-abusive way. No therapy is inherently abusive.

    And the slippery slope argument is very very real here. If in fact pastoral therapists are exempt from the ban for religious reasons (and since I can’t seem to get hold of the actual statute, I still don’t know if that’s the case), do you really think that exemption will last? I do not. And if it is abusive for a parent to send a child to therapy for sexual conversion therapy, can you not see that at some point it would become defined as abusive for a parent to discourage a homosexual orientation?

    And this has nothing to do with whether you or I would agree with a parent doing that or not doing that. It has to do with the liberty a parent has to raise a child in the way he or she sees fit, as long as the parent is not being abusive. The definition of abusive can shift; it’s about where we want to draw the line.

  20. Shouting Thomas Says:

    I long ago ceased thinking of the “therapeutic” professions as being in any way scientific or, even, of any value.

    The therapeutic professions are mostly ginned up world saving jobs designed to employ those millions of women with worthless liberal arts degrees who want to save the world.

    The therapeutic professions are featherbedding sinecures for women without job skills who want to fluff up their egos by working at that all time favorite woman’s occupation, “helping people.”

  21. Shouting Thomas Says:

    The persecution of the gays never happened in my lifetime. Here, in chronological order, is the actual catastrophe that struck the gay male community, and the propaganda campaign that followed:

    1. The AIDS epidemic wipes out the gay ghettoes in SF, LA and NYC. The epidemic is triggered by the sexual behavior of gay men, primarily in the bathhouses.

    2. The search for the scapegoat begins with “And the Band Played On.” Thesis: President Reagan could have commissioned the development of a vaccine that would have ended the epidemic quickly, but he hated gays so much he enjoyed watching them rot and die. This thesis fell away as it became evident that a cure for AIDS was decades off. Still no vaccine in sight decades later.

    3. A propaganda campaign to distract attention away from the AIDS epidemic plays out in movies, plays and novels. It is as if the past is being re-written to suggest that gay men died en masse from violence at the hands of straight men, not from AIDS. This propaganda campaign culminates in “Brokeback Mountain.”

    4. Once it is “proven” through a steady stream of movies, plays and novels that gays are routinely terrorized and murdered by straight men, the search begins for a proper form of restitution for the purported crimes.

    5. Gay marriage somehow comes into focus as the proper punishment for straights and restitution for gays.

    This, in chronological order, is what happened. Notice that the persecution and martyrdom of the gays did not, in reality, happen. That persecution and martyrdom was depicted over and over again in works of fictional propaganda.

  22. neo-neocon Says:

    Shouting Thomas,

    If you’ve read many of my posts on therapy and therapists you’ll have seen that I certainly am no kneejerk admirer or defender of the profession.

    But although a fair number of therapists fall into the category you describe, I would strongly disagree that all or even the vast majority do. I have certainly known many male therapists, for starters, and I also have known many excellent therapists (both men and women) who have helped a lot of clients with the situations that have caused them to seek therapy.

    I’m not going to argue with you further about it, because from what you’ve written it would appear you have most likely made up your mind on the subject.

  23. parker Says:

    IMO, homosexuality is not a decision. I did not choose to be heterosexual. By age 13, in the throes of full blown puberty, I had no need to ponder if I was straight or queer. I was instinctually heterosexual. I wanted, to put it crudely, to get into Linda’s and later Vicki’s panties; and so on and so on through my teens. No one decides to be hetero or homo. Either you are or you are not.

  24. Shouting Thomas Says:

    I think the old Freudian method, in the hands of a competent and ethical practitioner, is useful.

    Freudian therapy is now political incorrect and purported to have been designed to oppress women.

  25. Ymarsakar Says:

    Being a therapist is like being part of ACORN, the State Department, or SEIU. Whether the individuals are good or not, doesn’t affect how corrupt the state is overall or the institution is overall.

  26. Shouting Thomas Says:

    No one decides to be hetero or homo.

    Nonsense.

    Being homo is the only way that a middle class or upper middle class white male can avail himself of the quota system.

    I’d bet plenty of guys are faking it, or tying to conform to it for the perks.

  27. Ymarsakar Says:

    One of the consequences of putting union goon educators into power is that they tend to start raping little girls and boys.

    Which has a direct influence on their sexual mores and orientation. Heretosexual boys become homosexual after enough Leftist namby programing or stimuli. Girls become sluts and/or whores when they think catering to male sexual desires is “normal” via rape. Or they become lesbians since they avoid/hate men.

  28. Shouting Thomas Says:

    The notion that people will not, or cannot, distort and pervert their sexuality for public approval or financial gain is one of the most noxious and stupid bits of PC propaganda.

    What do you think a whore does?

  29. parker Says:

    “What do you think a whore does?”

    Anything for money. But what does that have to do with innate sexuality.

  30. Shouting Thomas Says:

    What in the hell is “innate sexuality?”

    Answer: political propaganda.

  31. parker Says:

    “Nonsense.

    Being homo is the only way that a middle class or upper middle class white male can avail himself of the quota system.

    I’d bet plenty of guys are faking it, or tying to conform to it for the perks.”

    Nonsense? Faking it in your words has nothing to do with what is one’s innate sexuality. Men or women may, for whatever gain, indulge in various sexual behavior, but that does not change their innate orientation.

  32. Shouting Thomas Says:

    @parker

    Congrats! You’ve memorized the propaganda.

    The depth and sheer volume of lies and propaganda that have emerged from this campaign to scapegoat straight men for the AIDS epidemic has astonished me.

    Just about everything that can possibly be said in public about homosexuality, while retaining your job and public status, is a complete effing lie.

  33. parker Says:

    Shouting,

    What exactly is your problem with the concept of innate? Innate is an adjective that means inborn or native or inbred or congenital or inherent. What does that have to do with political propaganda?

    BTW, I have to go to work in 8 hours. Goodnight.

  34. Beverly Says:

    The gay lobby’s motto is “Live and Let Die.” Don’t dare doubt or cross them.

    “Dr. Charles Socarides set the record straight on how homosexuals inside and outside of the APA forced this organization to remove homosexuality [in 1973] as a mental disorder. This was done without any valid scientific evidence to prove that homosexuality is not a disordered behavior.

    Dr. Socarides, writing in Sexual Politics and Scientific Logic: The Issue of Homosexuality writes: “To declare a condition a ‘non-condition,’ a group of practitioners had removed it from our list of serious psychosexual disorders. The action was all the more remarkable when one considers that it involved an out-of-hand and peremptory disregard and dismissal not only of hundreds of psychiatric and psychoanalytic research papers and reports, but also a number of other serious studies by groups of psychiatrists, psychologists, and educators over the past seventy years.…”

    Socarides continued: “For the next 18 years, the APA decision served as a Trojan horse, opening the gates to widespread psychological and social change in sexual customs and mores. The decision was to be used on numerous occasions for numerous purposes with the goal of normalizing homosexuality and elevating it to an esteemed status.

    “To some American psychiatrists, this action remains a chilling reminder that if scientific principles are not fought for, they can be lost — a disillusioning warning that unless we make no exceptions to science, we are subject to the snares of political factionalism and the propagation of untruths to an unsuspecting and uninformed public, to the rest of the medical profession, and to the behavioral sciences.”

    Dr. Socarides’ report is available from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality: http://www.narth.com.

  35. Richard Aubrey Says:

    If homosexuality is fixed by genetics or some in utero incident–whatever that may be–it should be discernible, eventually, prior to birth.
    Then the choice can be made to abort–as with sex selection or with Downs Syndrome kids–or, if possible, repair through, maybe, gene manipulation. I don’t think we’re at the repair stage at this point, but things seem to be moving along and it might happen.
    Which leaves abortion. Seeing as the pro-choicers have no problem with abortion for sex selection–it’s certainly not illegal–it would be interesting to see their view, and that of the gay community, on abortion of potentially homosexual children.
    And if repair is possible, what would they say?
    Mom’s choice, you know.

  36. sergey Says:

    As far I know, most psychoanalysis is founded on concepts of Freud and Yung, and they both insisted that libido can change its fixation in course of individual development. Such transitions from narcissistic to oral, from oral to anal and eventually to genital fixation are perfectly normal, natural and regular. The classics of psychoanalysis also asserted that sexual orientation is acquired during puberty in process which includes switching from natural predisposition for homosexual attraction to heterosexual one. What happened with all this classic theory, on which all psychotherapy is based? While instead of all this we hear about 8-years old “gay” boys, about inborn sexual orientation and all other crap completely incompatible with the classic tradition described above? May be, in my neck in woods I had overheard new scientific discoveries that require a radical revision of the classic concepts? Or, which seems to me much more plausible, these news about congenital or even genetic determination of sexual orientation is just a junk science, ideologically imposed on society by gay lobby and liberals who need a new “oppressed minority” to defend and use this defense as pretext to attack Christians and other people of faith?

  37. Ymarsakar Says:

    It really doesn’t matter what a person’s innate tendencies are. Since humans are malleable, it’s hard or impossible to prove innate.

    The best people were able to do was use the authority of power to proclaim innate human rights. But nobody ever claimed those rights couldn’t be perverted, taken away, or destroyed. What people are born with, anyone can take away. That was the entire point.

  38. sergey Says:

    What I know for certain from personal experience, reading and reviewing as scientific writer such someday honorable peer-reviewed scientific journals as Lancet, Science or Nature, that most of the social science is a complete junk, just liberal talking points disguised by scientific terminology. Politicized and ideologically motivated science is not science at all, but what was called in Russia Lysenkoism, a form of charlatanism. I do believe that this includes also almost everything in “race studies”, “women studies”, “gay studies”, “gender and sex” studies and associated pseudo-scholarly disciplines in which leftist in academy hold absolute monopoly.

  39. Religio-Political Talk (RPT) Not Agnostic To How the State Ruins Contractual Agreements Between Individuals ~ Modern Progressive Power Grab (Same-Sex Marriage) Says:

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  40. expat Says:

    Here is what all this stuff will lead to:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/third-gender-option-to-become-available-on-german-birth-certificates-a-916940.html

    It’s like the British tweeters who criticized Kate and William for announcing that their baby was a boy. Maybe birth certificates should list XX and XY instead of girl and boy and XX parent and XY parent instead of mother and father.

    I am sorry for people who are screwed up about their identity, and I know that homosexuals can have a difficult time accepting that they are not like most people and that they can’t procreate with their sex partner. But at some point the activists just have to stop. Babies and children develop from interacting with their caregivers and their environment. You can’t put them in a closet till they reach a certain age and then expect them to be normal human beings. Do you remember the stories about the Romanian orphanages? The children were permanently stunted by being denied emotional bonds.

  41. SwiperTheFox Says:

    “Aversion therapy”, in which young children are exposed to nude strangers, explicit and/or softcore pornography, and other such things while being subject to pain-inducing medication, electroshocks, and the like is a barbaric practice of child abuse that no parent should be able to force upon their children. The fact that there’s a religious justification here is irrelevant. The fact that this practice used to be common is irrelevant. You as a parent are not allowed to have sex with your children (even if they supposedly want it), physically beat them (again, even if it’s supposedly consented to), order them into direct harm to work as child soliders / child laborers / etc (again, even if the kid supposedly volunteers for the service), or request someone else to abuse the child on your behalf (ditto).

    The attempt to blur the line between anti-homosexual aversion therapy and actual psychological therapy needed for children with PTSD, depression, and other issues fails on the face of it. A therapist will diagnose something like PTSD with a long period of talking therapy first, then allocate medications, and then personally assist the person through more detailed talking therapy in a way in which strict lines between patient and therapist are set up. “Conversion therapy” is nothing like this.

    “Conversion therapy” is, by design, made to expose children to harm in order to cause psychological aversion. The infamous scene from ‘A Clockwork Orange’ provides a clear counterpart. That “treatment” of Alex DeLarge was done by supposed therapists, but it was designed specifically to cause harm in order to condition him to feel psychological stress later on.

    Good God… most Christians today would consider an animal trainer using “conversion therapy”-like tactics on a puppy — i.e. smacking him across his furry back if he barks too loudly — as disgustingly horrible. Can we apply the same to human children? Please?

  42. SwiperTheFox Says:

    >Richard Aubrey Says:
    >August 20th, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Actually, all I’ve seen from various blogs, commentaries, and the like is the opposite. Conservative parents with more mixed, squeamish views on abortion suddenly drop the superficial pro-life line and become very much not so opposed to the practice when they find out it’s their own son or daughter in question.

    Example: “Abortion hope after ‘gay genes’ finding” – ‘The Daily Mail’

  43. neo-neocon Says:

    Swiper the Fox:

    I wonder whether you actually have read my post.

    As I said in it, techniques like electroshock can be banned. But this bill (which I have yet to see the text of) appears to ban the whole idea of any sort of therapy that attempts to question a possible homosexual orientation of a minor, or that explores the idea that that particular orientation is not the final and absolute one for that minor. It is possible to ban all abusive techniques without banning the very idea of a possible change of orientation.

    Again, I would really like to see the text of the ban. I very much doubt it merely bans abusive techniques. I would have no quarrel with it if it does.

    The California law (after which the NJ law is apparently modeled) appears to state that “therapists and counselors who use ‘sexual orientation change efforts’ on clients under 18 would be engaging in unprofessional conduct and subject to discipline by state licensing boards.” As I asked in my post: is it banned even if the minors themselves want it? Is it banned in general? This law seems unconscionably broad.

    Again, if anyone can direct me to the wording of the statute, it would be helpful.

  44. SwiperTheFox Says:

    >As I said in it, techniques like electroshock can be banned. But this bill (which I have yet to see the text of) appears to ban the whole idea of any sort of therapy that attempts to question a possible homosexual orientation of a minor, or that explores the idea that that particular orientation is not the final and absolute one for that minor.

    The problem with your argument about techniques is that it’s entirely a red herring. The point of “aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy” — the very nature of how it’s done, what it’s for, and why it’s done by the horrible parents that do it — is to cause physical discomfort in children and to indoctrinate them to thinking that traits within themselves are wrong because it causes pain physically dude to psychological conditioning. This is how”aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy” operates. This is what it is. This the dictionary definition.

    Hit an animal every time a bell is rung. Soon, they will fear the bell itself. Have a child zoned out on pain-causing drugs while they’re exposed to homosexual pornography. Soon, they will feel discomfort just from the images themselves. This is how “aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy” works. This is the design. This is the definition.

    Saying “Well, we can ban the techniques, but don’t ban the practice” is like saying “Well, we can ban putting cigarettes into mouths and lighting them up, but don’t ban smoking” or “Well, we can putting your arms and legs into a car and pressing the go pedals, but don’t ban driving” or “Well, we can ban putting your fingers into the private parts of a child, but don’t ban child sexual abuse”.

    >It is possible to ban all abusive techniques without banning the very idea of a possible change of orientation.

    This is objectively false. “Aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy” ARE those techniques. That is the definition of “Aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy”. “Aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy” ARE abusive.

    If a person is going to get someone to “change their orientation”, then they are going to use what is being described. How “aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy” works is by psychologically conditioning someone to feel pain when they are around certain stimuli in order to make them fear that stimuli. It’s being used by people that hate homosexuality in this instance, but it could just as easily be used to make a white child to (because mixed-race coupling has been considered a sin in Christianity until, in historical terms, very recently) feel pain from the stimuli of being exposed to black children and thus make them fear mixed-racial coupling in his or her future.

    Think about it in animal welfare terms. If you want to train a puppy, and you go to a “aversion therapy” “conditioning” based pet center offering “aversion training”, then you will know that your puppy is going to get hit. That’s how it works. And those places are engaged in unprofessional, unethical, and unlicensed conduct according to pet care specialists.

    If you thought that hitting your little fluffy thing would be barbaric, then you would avoid going to an “aversion therapy” “conditioning” based pet center and go to a place that just offers standard pet care. Those places are engaged in ethical, professional, and licensed care. Those places do not operate under the ideological framework of the previous places– they instead believe in rewarding positive conduct and creating personal bonds with the animals.

    Now, think about it in human terms. It’s not that hard. Ugh…

  45. dicentra Says:

    For some people, same-sex attraction may be hardwired, but what about victims of sexual molestation who have their compasses spun around by the experience?

    For some molested boys, their first sexual experience with a male — though traumatic — has an imprinting effect. Some molested girls are so traumatized by the rape that they cannot bond with men and so turn to women.

    What if treating the sexual molestation also ends up causing the same-sex attraction to fade? Are we going to fight that?

    It’s possible that there is more than one road to same-sex attraction, and that the nature/nurture ratio varies widely among individuals.

    When Anne Heche left Ellen Degeneres for a man, should we have arrested someone for switching her? If conversion therapy (of the non-abusive kind) works for a handful of individuals, shouldn’t they be allowed to pursue that avenue?

    I’ve no doubt that the impetus for the NJ bill is politics and more politics, not science and not the well-being of all concerned. On such an emotionally and politically charged subject, there’s little hard evidence one way or another that we can trust, let alone make policy on.

    But that’s never stopped people before, so I guess it won’t stop them now.

  46. dicentra Says:

    There are other forms of conversion therapy that don’t include aversion, drugs, or other types of coercion.

    Some methods involve talk only: helping a gay man get in touch with his own masculinity instead of seeking it out in other men — or by treating sexual abuse or whatever might have affected his orientation.

    Such a method would not work with everyone, but it also shouldn’t be banned because it’s not abusive by any stretch of the imagination.

  47. SwiperTheFox Says:

    dicentra, if someone happens to be born bisexual, and is interested in both genders, then it’s common for them to flip-flop between what types of people they will date. It’s no different than how a straight white male might switch between dating white females and Latinas. Examples of that among celebrities has nothing to do with true “changes of orientation”.

    For cases of molestation, your normal non-abusive, non-perverted, non-unlicensed, non-”aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy” therapy that involves kids and adults getting help with traumatic experiences help them greatly. It’s a travesty to take them away from that kind of help and care to then give them to quack “aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy” people without medical degrees. And what happens in those cases of molestation are NOT changes of orientation. What happens is that a child of one orientation that they’ve had since birth is conditioned through abuse to think of themselves as incapable of having the loving, romantic relationships that they previously thought of.

    Think of having someone smash a vase, a mirror, or something equally precious at your home. If you reconstruct that vase, mirror, whatever, you are not “changing the definition” / “changing the nature” / “changing the orientation” / etc of that thing. You’re bringing it back to what it was.

    What parents do by taking perfectly normal, perfectly kind and caring LGBT children to these “aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy” camps is trying to alter them from what they previously are and form them / mold them into something new and foreign (straight). That’s not the same thing at all. It’s totally different.

    Bringing up child molestation is interesting in terms of this debate, because standard “aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy” of exposing children to sexual materials while inducing pain is actually highly parallel to what pedophiles due during child grooming– the only real difference is the conversion therapy people are supposedly doing it because God wants them to whereas the pedophiles are honest that they’re just fulfilling their own desires on the children. Which is hardly an excuse. But that’s the world we live in.

  48. SwiperTheFox Says:

    As for the talking “therapy” part of “aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy” that some patients receive as a supplement to the main therapy (the “aversion” based part of it), it’s true that there are some possible elements of the practice that aren’t abusive. But those elements of the practice are not the main thing. Saying that “aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy” being forced upon children and causing them harm in general should be legal because of those side elements doesn’t make sense.

    It’s like saying that child molestation should be legal because a lot of the practice of some pedophiles involves buying the children ice cream and taking them to see movies, which is fine. Or that driving 95 on a 55 mph road should be legal because some people are speeding to the hospital. Side exceptions don’t make rules and laws.

    And the compelling interest of the law is, let’s not forget, to protect people. The imperative is to protect children. That’s the A-#1 compelling interest.

    I’m sure that there could be random strangers that would want to randomly pull up to a playground and offer the kids free candy and to take them to the movies where it’s actually 100% innocent. It’s a big world– they probably are out there somewhere. But we as a society order our laws so that we’d arrest / stop / frisk / etc that person, and for good reason. The law is the law, and the law is designed to protect people.

    On an aside: Even if we look at the talking side of “aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy”, it’s far from medically neutral (and of course not beneficial). You have children forced against their will to attend sessions with people that will be (again, assuming this is just the talking side) telling them that they’re immoral, disgusting, impure, wrong, and otherwise corrupted. They’ll be told that their child-like, innocent beliefs that they could have romantic relationships with other children is nasty, deviant, and bad (one thing that’s common is taking Valentines Day cards that children have written and ripping them up in their faces). And then the children go through exercises with no medical value that are basically the same as ‘new age’ medicines where you put a pyramid on your head and supposedly it sucks the evil spirits form your soul. There’s no medical merit to this. It’s pure quackery.

    I can understand that we have strict free speech protection in this country for a reason, and for parents to tell their kids (and then to send their kids to be lectured at by others) that they should never have been born, that they’re stupid, that they ruined their parents lives, that they cost too much, that they’re ugly, and other such bad things… well, just ‘saying’ those things to children is legal, and it should be legal. Even if it’s beyond horrifying.

    So, well, I guess I can kind of meet you all halfway. I don’t think, thus, necessarily that parents and groups that, outside of “aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy”, give conversion-style verbal abuse ONLY should be banned. Ban “aversion therapy” / “conversion therapy”. But if a person as a person offers to talk down to kids as a part of other services, that should be legal.

    I do have to say, though, if you’re one of those parents that spend time haranguing to your kids about how your kid’s mere existence, supposed, ugliness, development problems, sexual orientation, etc is a drain on them (and I’m sure, if you’re one of those parents, you’re a proud Christian)… please restore your humanity sometime.

  49. Homo-Cons Displeased With New Jersey Bill Banning ‘Reparative’ Therapy For Minors | Truth Wins Out Says:

    [...] it, so he has problems with it too. He links to somebody called “Neo-Neocon,” who has things about which to complain, regarding preventing children from being driven to depression and suicide. The plight of the [...]

  50. Noname Says:

    It’s really interesting to see how so many people have no idea what therapy is. If a person comes to me wanting to explore some aspect of his or her sexuality, it’s my job to help that person navigate that. That may include all sorts of topics, including wanting to convert sexual orientation. It’s not a therapist’s job to convert anyone, rather to help individuals think through whatever makes life difficult. If living as a gay person is difficult for the individual, then let’s talk about why that is, and what the individual’s participation in it is, and what he or she can do to about it.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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