Raise Vegan September 2018 Raise Vegan (2) - Page 40

Conversion Therapy RV: Some people believe that identifying as LGBTQ+ is a choice, or something that can be “fixed.” Of course, we know that’s not true, but what is the mindset behind conversion or reparative therapy? Lindsey: “Conversion therapy” (also known as reparative therapy) is a practice that some believe can turn gay people straight or transgender people into the gender they were designated at birth. A push to make it illegal in Connecticut was a priority in 2017, and the prohibition of the practice was passed on May 10, 2017. We had a speaker discuss this at PFLAG Hartford when the push for this was just starting. The law, “prohibits licensed professional therapists from practicing the coercive therapy tactics, which includes electro-shock therapy, on those under 18, although it does not ban the practice among adults and does not restrict religious leaders from offering guidance.” There is tech- nically a religious exemption, if the religious person holds a professional license; however, they jeopardize holding that license by engag- ing in such practice if it exceeds the “offering guidance” clause. As a Catholic, I am unable to escape it. The Catholic Church has their own programs called Courage and EnCourage. Courage is the Church’s conversion therapy arm, and EnCourage holds out hope that God is going to turn people’s kids away from these “choices” that they have apparently made. Conversion therapy as a way to “fix” individ- uals stems from the belief that people who are gay or transgender are “afflicted” with some- thing that is contrary to the human condition. Depending on what you read, LGBTQ+ people either have an illness or we have made the conscious choice, by accepting who we are, to be immoral. RV: What is the goal of conversion therapy? Lindsey: With conversion therapy, the goal is not to listen to the child; it is to “cure” them. There are all kinds of ways this is done: ap- proaches that include deprivation, starvation, beatings, electro-shock, and other aversion techniques that sound more like brainwashing and torture than therapy. If the LGBTQ+ child does not feel safe, or if the person is trying to tell them what to do or how to be, it is no longer about the child. At this point, it has become more about the outcome desired by the person doing the conversion therapy, or, sadly, one or both of the parents. 40 Raise Vegan SEPTEMBER 2018 The practice does not work. It is documented that it can curb behavior, but it does not curb feelings. People that feel a “same sex attraction” still experience the same feelings after conver- sion therapy. They may just not talk about it or they avoid acting on their feelings for a while. It is a terrible state to be put in when one is being conditioned to feel pain and shame for acting on their true feelings. There is also a high recidi- vism rate. Essentially, the thoughts don’t go away but the individual no longer feels worthy of exploring those feelings. It comes as no surprise that there is a spike in the suicide rate for people that have gone through conversion therapy. RV: How widespread is the practice of conver- sion therapy? Lindsey: There has been no central agency keep- ing statistics on conversion therapy patients, so it’s hard to quantify how widespread it is. How- ever, a recent study from the Williams Institute estimates that, “698,000 LGBTQ+ Americans between the ages of 18 and 59 have undergone conversion therapy at some point in their lives.” More than half of these individuals received treatment as a child. In the same report, it was estimated that 20,000 LGBTQ+ teens, ag (̴ܰݥɕѕݥѠٕͥѡɅ)ɽ͕ѡɔɽͥɔ)ѡɸఁѥܰݥ)ɕեɕѼ͕ɕ́ȁɥՅ٥ͽȁ)ե)Qɔɔхѕ̀ ɹ ѥа)%̰9م9܁)͕䰁9܁5᥍=ɔ)I%ͱYɵаݥѠѡ)ɥЁ յѡЁٕٔȴ)ͥѡɅ丁ͥȁ݅́ɕѱ͕)5ݥѠѥͅ쁡ݕٕȰѡ)ɕЁٕɹȁٕѽѡѡ̴)ɔ݅́չѼٕɥ$Ёѡɕ)ѼѥՔхѕ́ͥͱѥѼɈ)ٕՅ䁕ɅєѡɅѥٕȴ)ͥѡɅ丁mєٔɔхѕ́ٔ)͕ٕ́ͥѡɅѡ́啅)]͡ѽ!݅݅ɔ܁ٔ)́и5居é9܁!͡ɗe)́хЁͽt)ѥٕͥѡɅ䁽̰ͽհ)͡%ЁՅѕ́ѡ͔Ʌѥٔѡ)1 QD́ѡɕɔЁ)͡ձɕ́́ձ)ٔѡ̰ѡɅѥٕͥѡɅ)ݥٕȁѕ䁕ѕ)IXԁٔ䁅٥ȁѡ͔)ѡɽ՝ѡɅ䁹ܰ䁥ѡ䁡ٔ)ՉѕѼٕͥѡɅ䁉ɔ)1͕Q٥Յ͡ձ͕Ё)ɽɥєɽͥЁݡаᅍѱ)́ѽȁȁѡɅЁɽɥє])Ё́Ѽչ͕1 QDѥѥ̰)$Ցɕ́٥ͽ́ѡ́مՅѥ)Qɔɔ܁хЁՕѥ́)ɽͥ́Ѽݕȁɔԁɕ)Ѽ͕ѡ]ѡЁѡ́)ٔѡȁݸ]ѡ䁡)ȁչхѡ͕ٕ́ѕѼ)ݡЁȁ́ѕѡЁ܁ѡ)=Ȱݥѡ䁥ѕѕЁѼե)ȁѼɕѕɵэ)ѕȁ܁ѡ͡ձѡ)ٔɕɅȁɥѡɕ)䁽ȁɅ͝ȁѥ)=ѡͅЁѽɥ́'eٕٔȁɐ)݅́ЁɅ̵éɥݥѠѡ)ѕѽ䁑ѽȁѡȁɝ丁Q)ѽȁɕѥȁѡѡѥ)ݡЁѡݕɔѕȴ)ɵѡɝ䁥݅ѡЁݽձ)ѡѥЁѼхѡȁ͡ЁЁѡ)ȁѡѡݕɔЁݥѠɥ)͍ɕ͙ɕи)Ё͔)ѽȁ䁡ٔͽɅɅ)ѡɕ1 QD́ЁѡȁՑ̰)ȁհ1 QDѥٕ́ȁѡ)啅̰́Ёѡɽɥє)Յ)%ԁɔ她ѼЁȁѡɅа)͕ЁѡЁ́ՅɅ)ՑѡѽЁЁͽ)ݡѽā͔ȁѕ͕)ȁݼ)Q̃qɽɥѕϊt́ЁѼչȴ)хݡͥɥɕ́٥ͽ̸$)ٔЁͽݽəհ ѡɥ́ݡ)ٔɕɥՅեѡɔɔ)܁ѡЁ$ٔѥձɱ䁍͔ݥѠ)ٕȁѡЁ啅̸$eЁյ)ɥЁѼٕͅѥ͔́$݅ѕ)ѼեЁи$݅ѕѼͅ)ѡ܁ɥ́$ٔѕٕͥٔ̈́)ѥ́ݥѠ$չѡѼٕ䁍̴)ͥєѡȁչ͕Ѽհ