Conversion Therapy




     Both of these videos discuss conversion therapy, a technique used (typically by religious therapists) to "cure" people who are homosexual of their homosexual urges or impulses. The first video, by BuzzFeed, takes a more humorous approach, and uses the same techniques reported by people who have gone through conversion therapy on heterosexuals to show how ridiculous it is to try to "train" someone not to be gay. The second video, made by NowThis, takes a more serious view and discusses the ways that conversion therapy can be very harmful to gay people, particularly teenagers.

      One reason that conversion therapy is so detrimental is that is comes from a hetero-normative perspective that demonizes gay people as abnormal and deviant. About a month ago, conversion therapy became illegal in New Mexico, making it one of seven states that has banned it. Some religious therapists have argued that it takes away the freedom of choice for those who would opt for the therapy, but unfortunately in most cases (as mentioned in the NowThis video) teens are forced into conversion therapy by their parents or religious leaders, not because they want to attend.
 
      The argument over conversion therapy, to me, highlights the importance of work such as "The Heterosexual Questionnaire," that questions society's harmful assumptions about heterosexuality as a norm and homosexuality as a deviant master status. When the perspective gets flipped, it becomes clear how ridiculous the questions that many homosexual people in our society get asked or even interrogated with. Hopefully more states will recognize the potential harms of the practice moving forward and, even if they decide not to ban it outright, will find ways to limit the manipulation and harm that biased practitioners or parents can enact on their children. Going through puberty and identifying one's sexuality can be confusing, and some teens may want to seek guidance from spiritual leaders, but no one deserves to be told that they are wicked or deviant or to be punished and put through therapy that is intended to change them due to their sexual feelings.
   





BuzzFeed Video. (2015, November 21). "Straight Conversion Therapy." BuzzFeed. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6KLXWaxh8A

NowThis. (2016, December 13). "The Dark History of Gay Conversion Therapy." NowThis. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3ujZmHyfP8

Rochlin, Martin. (1985.) "The Heterosexual Questionnare." The Meaning of Difference: American Constructions of Race and Ethnicity, Sex and Gender, Social Class, Sexuality, and Disability. (158). (7th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Rook, Erin. (2017, April 8). "New Mexico becomes latest state to ban 'conversion therapy' for minors." LGBTQ Nation. Retrieved from https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/04/new-mexico-becomes-latest-state-ban-conversion-therapy-minors/

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