So, this isn’t at all controversial...
California Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) has introduced a bill, which passed the State Senate, banning “ex-gay” therapy for minors. I really debated whether or not to even address the issue, but I think it’s worthy of discussion, largely because I think the debate -- at least in the California Senate -- is rather one sided.
Note Sen. Lieu’s statements here:
“The entire medical community is opposed to these phony therapies. Everyone agrees that this quackery needs to stop.”
And the American Psychological Association’s (APA) take on it here;
“The potential risks of ‘reparative therapy’ are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.”
I love the line that includes “ since therapist alignment with societal prejudices,” because the statement itself is prejudicial.
However, is there really unanimous consent on the matter? Not exactly, The American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), which has about 50,000 members,
“...supports reparative therapy, ‘on biblical, ethical and legal grounds’ for patients ‘with a genuine desire to be set free of homosexual attractions”… The goal is ‘heterosexual relations and marriage or lifelong sexual celibacy.”
Christopher Rosik from The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality called the California Senate vote:
"...another triumph of political activism over objective science' and his organization maintains the measure 'transfers the oversight of proper psychological care from mental health professionals and licensing boards into the hands of politicians.”
I understand that history does not always look kindly on the psychological community (e.g., eugenics) and scrutiny of California therapy isn't completely without merit either. It did give us Primal Scream Therapy, and the better parts of the movie Serial where,
"It's the end of the 70s. Hippies are assimilating, women are raising their consciousness, and men are becoming confused and ineffectual."
It also gave me memories of family reunions in northern California where relatives would share all their feelings, at completely inappropriate times. Some things you can't unhear.
But, in my opinion, this is a choice issue. If my child wants to seek out counseling, for whatever reason, that is not the government’s business. Shouldn't that decision be between a therapist, a patient and -- in the case of a minor -- a parent?
Is there really no merit in this kind of therapy? I think it’s worthy of debate.