Conversion Therapy: A House of Cards

There is no one who is running for the presidency of the United States on the Republican side of the aisle who is going to be helpful to the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, the vast majority of them, if they get their way, are flat-out dangerous to our community. We will find most, if not all, of the progress we have made over the last 30 years washed away in an overwhelming wave of fundamental conservatism such as we have never seen.

If one listens closely to their rhetoric, we hear that all that is wrong with the world — ethically, economically, and spiritually — can be traced back to the LGBTQ+ community. God almighty is raging God’s wrath upon the earth because of our desire to have life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

They will never admit that the problems we face as a nation are due to greed, arrogance, hypocrisy, and the desire for absolute power. Nope, it is too easy to blame us.

Nor will they ever admit that homophobia is a sure moneymaker. As long as they preach their fear of the LGBTQ+ community, the donations roll in. The politicians use us as a wedge issue while the Christian churches have conferences designed to put God and us into a box. I will say again: Both groups use each other with one common goal — our destruction.

As long as the Christian Church allows the lies about us to continue — and even teaches them — then we will continue to die, get killed, lose our best healthcare, our mental health, our jobs, our kids, our right to visitation, and our property. We will continue to be thought of as “not God’s best.” That last phrase is where the most powerful lie of the church gets its power: “Love the sinner and hate the sin.” Our love is not a sin.

Can we not see how this is all connected? Have we not seen that when we as a community continue to support these fools with our presences, our money, our votes and our membership in their organizations and churches, we are only hurting ourselves?

In February, Exodus International held one of their “Love Won Out” conferences in Atlanta, Ga. Under the guise of love, they told anyone who would listen how they can help a person who is unhappy and struggling with their homosexuality.

First, if it weren’t for people like them and their equine fecal matter, most LGBTQ+ folks would not be “struggling” and unhappy. This group knows people’s sexual orientation cannot be changed. The great tool they use is something they call “reparative therapy.”

In order for reparative therapy to work, one must assume that “homosexuality” is a disorder of some kind, or a personality defect to be corrected. These assumptions are:

1. We are called to love gay and lesbian people “struggling with sexual orientation,”

2. Homosexual orientation is chosen or is the result of bad childhood experiences, and

3. People cannot condone this “sinful” behavior that was chosen by their loved ones, and therefore “cannot accept their gay, lesbian and bisexual family members.”

These 3 points are countered by:

1. Sexual orientation is not a disease. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed the term “homosexuality” from the list of mental and emotional disorders. Therefore, it does not need to be cured.

2. “Reparative therapy” doesn’t work. In 1990, the American Psychological Association stated that scientific evidence does not show that conversion therapy works — and that it can do more harm than good.

3. “Reparative therapy” is dangerous. In 1998, the American Psychiatric Association declared its opposition to reparative therapy, stating that “Psychiatric literature strongly demonstrates that treatment attempts to change sexual orientation are ineffective. However, the potential risks are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior.”

4. According to the American Medical Association, “most of the emotional disturbance experienced by gay men and lesbians around their sexual identity is not based on physiological causes but rather is due more to a sense of alienation in an un-accepting environment. For this reason, aversion therapy is no longer recommended for gay men and lesbians.”

5. The Surgeon General’s “Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior” (2001) asserts that homosexuality is not “a reversible lifestyle choice.”

Even Exodus International leader Alan Chambers has been quoted as saying:

The majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9 percent of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation or have gotten to a place where they could say that they could never be tempted or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction.

I would like to note for the record that “struggling with sexual orientation” is a key card in the “house of cards” therapy. To this I will offer this: I am a 56-year-old gay man who has been with my partner for 30 years. I also am the pastor of an inner-city Christian church, own a home, pay my taxes, contribute to the national economy, vote in every election, and live a full, loving, and exciting life. What struggles I have had are from fighting to have the same rights and privileges of those so-called heterosexuals who think my love is a sin.

One’s psychological sanity and safety should never be set aside for the sake of a particular religious belief, particularly when there is ongoing evidence for one’s sexual orientation being formed at an early age and having far more to do with genetics than religion. The “religious right” and Exodus International have spent so much time trying to eliminate the LGBTQ+ community; they have missed the vast majority of people in the community who lead wonderfully wholesome lives.