California moves to regulate gay “conversion therapy”
While State of Missouri deals with an anti-gay bill aiming to erase any mention of homosexuality in their school curriculum, a State Senator in California has proposed a bill targeting so-called “therapies” used by religious groups to “cure” homosexuals. The bill aims to regulate “sexual conversion therapy”, a therapy whose goal is to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals.
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Presented by State Senator Ted Lieu, the proposed bill SB 1172 would ban access to sexual conversion therapy for anyone under the age of 18 (even if their parents consent) and would oblige psychologists and psychotherapists to clearly inform their patients of the physical and psychological damage that these therapies can cause.
For the moment, the bill would not prevent consenting adults from engaging in this type of “therapy”, generally offered by clinics run by religious groups who work to reinforce prejudice against homosexuality.
Ineffective and dangerous
The proposed bill is founded on the authority of several professional associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers. While firmly maintaining that homosexuality is not a disease, they also highlight that there is no research proving that it is possible to change an individual’s sexual orientation.
While some of the therapies involve discussion and prayer, others use more extreme methods. For example, an article in LA Weekly has mentioned, among other things, the use of aversion therapy, a modern version of the film Clockwork Orange, where patients receive electroshocks while they watch naked images of members of the same sex.
Bill SB 1172 is now in the hands of the Senate Judiciary Committee and may be read as early as May 8.
This article was written in collaboration with the team from the lesbian magazine Entre Elles.
Photo credit: willy-photographer