This was originally published on Liberal America on April 29, 2016.
A companion bill to the House’s Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act was introduced in Congress yesterday. This bill makes gay “conversion therapies” illegal. If you are one of the lucky ones that haven’t heard of these programs, they are made to try and turn gay people straight.
Last year, Oregon passed a law outlawing these programs for minors. But we need to go further. No one should be forced into these awful programs. All they do is hurt people and make them ashamed of who they are. These programs are created by conservatives that think being gay is a choice. You can’t just “pray away the gay.”
This bill introduced by Congress will outlaw all of these programs. Specifically, this act bans all programs that try to change someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Senator Patty Murray of Washington state have thrown themselves behind this bill.
Rep. Ted Lieu had this to say about it:
“I am thankful for Senator Murray’s and Senator Booker’s leadership in the Senate and grateful that the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act now has broad bicameral support. I urge our colleagues in the House and the Senate to join us in the fight to end the quackery that is conversion therapy.”
This horrid practice gained national attention in 2014 when transgender teen Leelah Alcorn committed suicide. She was sent to a “Christian” therapist to try and “convert” her. Her heart-wrenching suicide note went viral.
“When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.”
The Surgeon general had this to say about it:
“As America’s Doctor, my job is to help raise awareness about sound medical practices and the steps we can take together to improve America’s health. Conversion therapy is not sound medical practice. Moreover, we all need to work together to build greater understanding and acceptance throughout our society. Doctors can and should be part of that effort.”
No child should EVER be forced into this kind of “therapy.”