Others must follow Calif. in ban of conversion therapy for minors

On Sept. 30, California became the first state to ban conversion therapy services, more commonly known as “ex-gay” therapy, for minors. The day after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation into law, a college student filed a lawsuit against Brown along with over 20 other California state officials.

These officials must be supported, and this law cannot be overturned.

Conversion therapy is barbaric and has extremely dangerous consequences; it must be wiped out completely across the nation. We must focus on the facts surrounding this so-called therapy; fact must trump opinion.

The American Psychological Association reported that anti-gay efforts such as conversion therapy pose a large risk for the patients including an increased risk of depression, anxiety and self-harm.

The association also stated that the “results of scientifically valid research indicate that it is unlikely that individuals will be able to reduce same-sex attractions or increase other-sex sexual attractions through sexual orientation change efforts.”

The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy stated that “same sex orientation is not a mental disorder. Therefore, we do not believe that sexual orientation in and of itself requires treatment or intervention.”

In addition, the Pan American Health Organization reported, “Services that purport to ‘cure’ people with non-heterosexual sexual orientation lack medical justification and represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people.”

Brown posted a tweet, which said, “This bill bans nonscientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine.”

Those who oppose the law believe it infringes on their civil rights. How is ending a damaging practice, one that has no scientific foundation, infringing upon anyone’s rights?

This law protects the young people of California. Therapists have no right to conduct practices that have been deemed harmful; it goes against everything therapy is supposed to stand for.

The student suing the state officials for passing the law claims that conversion therapy has cured him, yet more and more people are admitting that the therapy is a failure. John Smid, the former director of the ex-gay Christian ministry “Love in Action” said he understands now that it is impossible to change one's sexual orientation and that he is still gay.

The idea behind conversion therapy is the misconception that being gay is a choice. Ryan Kendall spoke to CNN about his experience in conversion therapy, which began when he was 13 after his mother discovered he was gay. During his therapy sessions, he said, he was told that being gay was a choice and that he could “be fixed.”

As I see it, the people who need to be fixed are the parents who are exposing their children to this harmful therapy and the therapists who are blatantly ignoring the studies conducted on anti-gay practices.

People do not decide to be gay. There is no way to “pray the gay away” just as you can’t pray away freckles or green eyes; it is common sense. This law and its creators must be supported, and people need to pressure other states to follow in California’s footsteps.

Young people in this country must be allowed to grow up knowing that they are accepted and loved no matter whom they love.

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