Tag Archives: Gay Conversion Therapy

We Went To Gay Conversion Therapy Camp

Powerful documentary from Vice that needs to be watched.

Conversion therapy is the practice of “curing” gay people by trying to turn them straight through counselling and lifestyle restrictions. The practice dates back to the early Freudian period, when homosexuality was considered pathological and attempts to treat it were deemed appropriate. Today, however, homosexuality has been removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental disorders, and conversion therapy is considered ineffective, harmful, and potentially deadly.

Regardless of a nationwide battle toward the acceptance of same­-sex marriage and equal rights for gay people, conversion therapy is still a problem, and it’s being practiced every single day in the United States and throughout the world.

Also: Did Gay Conversion Therapy Work For This Couple? Meet The McCardles

In this special report, VICE gets exclusive access to one of the hundreds of gay-conversion-therapy organisations, groups, and sessions in the United States. At the Journey into Manhood program, men pay more than $600 to attend a weekend retreat where they participate in exercises and activities the staff members claim will help them battle their same-sex ­orientation. The only qualification to become a staff member is to have successfully completed the program.

The report meets with the founder of reparative therapy, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, who is illegally practicing on minors in the State of California, and investigates the controversial legal battle to fight conversion therapy for individuals under 18 years of age. We also travel to the annual Gay Christian Network Conference, speak with former “ex-gay” leaders including John Smid of Love in Action, who is now married to his gay partner, and hear the grueling stories of the individuals who have survived this brutal practice.

Watch the full documentary here.

New Jersey Judge Rules Labeling Homosexuality A ‘Disease’ In Gay Conversion Therapy Ads Is Fraud

Superior Court Judge Peter F. Barsio Jr has ruled that labeling homosexuality ‘a disease’ in adverts for controversial gay conversion therapy is fraud.

The ruling came this week, with the judge saying making such claims in marketing was a violation of New Jersey’s consumer protection laws.

“It is a misrepresentation in violation of the CFA (Consumer Fraud Act), in advertising or selling conversion therapy services to describe homosexuality, not as being a normal variation of human sexuality, but as being a mental illness, disease, disorder, or equivalent… advertising or selling conversion therapy services, to include specific ‘success’ statistics when there is no factual basis for calculating such statistics.”

Judge Peter F. Barsio Jr

The state judge made the ruling as part of a consumer fraud lawsuit filed against Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), a New Jersey-based conversion therapy provider.

The Southern Poverty Law Center brought the lawsuit on behalf of four gay ex-JONAH clients, claiming the group used ‘deceptive practices’ to lure clients to pay for gay-to-straight therapy – which can cost more than $10,000 a year, reports NBC.

‘Conversion’ or ‘reparative’ therapy is the attempt by individuals, often posing as professionals, to try and alter the sexuality of lesbian, gay or bisexual patients.

“This ruling is monumental and devastating to the conversion therapy industry. This is the principal lie the conversion therapy industry uses throughout the country to peddle its quackery to vulnerable clients. Gay people don’t need to be cured, and we are thrilled that the court has recognized this.”

David Dinielli, SPLC’s deputy legal director


Did Gay Conversion Therapy Work For This Couple? Meet The McCardles

Did ex-gay therapy really work for this couple? Meet out comics Abby Mcenany and Tim Paul, as they star in this Second City sketch. Playing an ex-gay couple being interviewed about their romantic (?) relationship.

The reporter (played by Jo Scott) tries to find out if they are truly happy and in love, and even takes a visit to Abby’s bedroom.

Written by and Starring Abby Mcenany and Tim Paul with Jo Scott

Former Ex-Gay Leaders Join Movement To Ban Gay Conversion Therapy | #BornPerfect

[tweet_dis]Nine former ex-gay leaders, from organisations like Exodus International and Love in Action, have signed onto a letter in partnership with the National Centre for Lesbian Rights[/tweet_dis] calling for a ban on gay conversion therapy and saying that LGBT people should be celebrated and embraced for who they are.

The former ex-gay leaders now say they ‘know better now’, and many involved in gay conversion therapy have shuttered or rebranded, like Exodus International, which very publicly announced it would shut down last summer.

Many of the signatories on the letter have previously spoken out against or apologised for supporting and advocating for gay conversion therapy. However, for some it’s the most public statement they’ve made since renouncing the practice.

“We all got together and said it’s time to produce a statement that is not a statement of apology, but a statement on our beliefs on how conversion therapy harms people. We felt like we needed to make that statement.”

John Smid, Exodus International

Smid said he experienced the harms of gay conversion or reparative therapy firsthand. Leading medical and psychological associations, such as the American Psychological Association, have discredited and criticised gay conversion therapy.

“In my own life, that message kept me trapped in a cycle of believing that I was emotionally ill and incapable of having a healthy life until those things are fixed. For over two decades, I lived in that mind-set. That’s why reparative therapy is so damaging. That was the message that I received and that I taught in my involvement with Exodus and Love in Action.”

John Smid, Exodus International

Advocates and other critics of gay conversion therapy, hope to expand the debate over the practice coast to coast. The letter from the former leaders comes as part of NCLR ramping up its #BornPerfect campaign, which it launched last month.

“We are committed to protecting LGBT children and their families from the severe harms caused by these dangerous practices. These practices have been thoroughly discredited by every major mental health organisation, and yet, every day, young lives are wrecked. We intend to stop the practices once and for all.”

Kate Kendell, NCLR Executive Director

Read the full letter:

Former Ex-Gay Leaders Unite in Opposition to Conversion Therapy

Conversion therapy, also known as “reparative therapy”, “ex-gay therapy,” or “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE), professes to help lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to change or overcome their sexual orientation or gender identity. The majority of those who practice this “therapy” often do so with little or no formal psychological training, operating instead from a strict religious perspective, believing homosexuality to be a “sin.”

At one time, we were not only deeply involved in these “ex-gay” programs, we were the founders, the leaders, and the promoters. Together we represent more than half a century of experience, so few people are more knowledgeable about the ineffectiveness and harm of conversion therapy. We know first-hand the terrible emotional and spiritual damage it can cause, especially for LGBT youth.

We once believed that there was something morally wrong and psychologically “broken” about being LGBT. We know better now. We once believed that sexual orientation or gender identity were somehow chosen or could be changed. We know better now. We once thought it was impossible to embrace our sexual orientation or sexual identity as an intrinsic, healthy part of who we are and who we were created to be. We know better now.

Looking back, we were just believing (and sometimes teaching) what we had been taught— that our identity needed mending. We grew up being told that being LGBT was disordered, sick, mentally ill, sinful, and displeasing to God. We grew up being told that loving, same-sex relationships were shallow, lust-driven, deceived, disordered, and impossible.

We grew up with the repetitive message that LGBT people were not enough — not straight enough, not Christian enough, not manly or womanly enough, not faithful enough, not praying enough. Never, ever enough. “Toxic” probably sums it up best. That message is poison to the soul. Especially a child’s soul.

It can take a lifetime to get rid of that old programming and replace it with healthy, non-toxic views of yourself. Recovery from conversion therapy is difficult at best. Some remain forever scarred, emotionally and spiritually. Conversion therapy reinforces internalized homophobia, anxiety, guilt and depression. It leads to self-loathing and emotional and psychological harm when change doesn’t happen. Regrettably, too many will choose suicide as a result of their sense of failure.

In light of this, we now stand united in our conviction that conversion therapy is not “therapy,” but is instead both ineffective and harmful. We align ourselves with every major mainstream professional medical and mental health organization in denouncing attempts to change sexual orientation or gender identity. We admonish parents to love and accept your LGBT children as they are. We beseech the church to accept, embrace, and affirm LGBT persons with full equality and inclusion.

As former “ex-gay” leaders, having witnessed the incredible harm done to those who attempted to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, we join together in calling for a ban on conversion therapy. It is our firm belief that it is much more productive to support, counsel, and mentor LGBT individuals to embrace who they are in order to live happy, well- adjusted lives. We fully support the aim of #BornPerfect to bring an end to conversion therapy.

New York Senates Blocks a Bill That Would Ban Gay Conversion Therapy

While plenty of people are simply debating how a person’s queerness came to be; whether they were born this way or if the environments they were in influenced their sexuality, plenty of others just want to know ‘how can we stop the person in question from having a non-heterosexual identity?’. For whatever reason, it’s more heard of than not for the people around said queer person (or for the queer person themselves) to turn to gay conversion therapy; therapy that seeks to ‘cure’ their queerness via methods that can only be described as offensive and deeply concerning.

Many people who have gone through gay conversion therapy have actually found that said conversion didn’t work and that they only ended up suppressing their feelings in the hopes of following a heterosexual life and indeed, it’s young queer people who are the most vulnerable as they have no way to escape should their parents see them put into the therapy program. That’s why so many people have been lobbying to have the conversion therapy banned for minors.

One of these places is New York, the typically liberal leaning state in America. However, when two LGBT-related bills made it to the floor of the New York Senate on Friday night (including the conversion therapy ban), the Senate failed to vote on either of them, despite the Senate session even being extended.

Advocates even called both bills “life saving” but GOP Senate leaders blocked the bills before they could go to the floor for vote, somewhat unfortunate considering that supporters of the bill say they had the votes for the two bills to pass, citing support from Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The second bill was the Gender Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which looked to protect trans* New York citizens from gender based discrimination in terms of housing, benefits, public transportation and employment, something that would be greatly needed considering the high rates of LGBT youths who are homeless or in poverty as a result of stifling discrimination.

The bills aren’t going to be forgotten about though, despite this setback as Allison Steinberg, communications director at Empire State Pride Agenda says that “we will not stop fighting for these bills until they pass,” and that “even when the Legislature is not in session, we will work to educate and build support for these bills and we are looking to election season this Fall, which could end up impacting bills like ours in the next session,” so we can look for both bills to return to the New York Senate in the hopes that they will pass soon.