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Bill prohibiting ‘ex-gay’ therapy for minors called ‘fascism, ex-gay bashing’

Monday, August 13, 2012
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REEDVILLE, Va. — A new bill making its way through the California state legislature that would ban “ex-gayreparative therapy for minors, has been called “fascism and ex-gay bashing” by the head of an “ex-gay” advocacy group.

Regina Griggs, Executive Director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), in a scathing letter to California State Senator Ted Lieu, said, “Your bill will turn California into a nanny state by usurping the civil rights of parents who support their child’s right to receive therapy for unwanted same-sex attractions, especially when that child has been sexually molested. This smacks of fascism and ex-gay bashing.”

State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance, Calif.)

Lieu, a Democrat, is the principal sponsor of legislation, SB 1172, which would prohibit reparative therapy for minors.

When he introduced the measure, Lieu said, “The entire medical community is opposed to these phony therapies. Everyone agrees that this quackery needs to stop.”

Lieu, whose district includes portions of Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Pedro, said he introduced his bill to protect LGBT youth from the practice, because “being lesbian or gay or bisexual is not a disease or mental disorder for the same reason that being a heterosexual is not a disease or a mental disorder. And the medical community is unanimous in stating that homosexuality is not a medical condition.”

Known as reorientation, reparative, conversion and ex-gay therapy, the practice attempts to change a subject’s sexual orientation — Griggs asserts that banning the therapy woud be more harmful to children.

“You endanger youth by denying their right to receive therapeutic help, promoting homosexual behavior to sexually confused youth, and conveniently ignoring the facts about the psychological and physical health risks of sodomy,” Griggs wrote.

“By your comments, it appears you lack credible knowledge about changeable sexual preference and that you have obtained biased information without consulting the ex-gay community.”

[...]

“Talk about harm to children! Why do you want to prevent youth from receiving counseling for unwanted same-sex attractions when those attractions can kill them?”

Following the declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973, the mainstream practice of “ex-gay” therapy began to fade.

According to the American Psychological Association, therapists “became increasingly concerned that aversive therapies designed as SOCE (Sexual Orientation Change Efforts) for homosexuality were inappropriate, unethical, and inhumane” and study after study showed that enduring change was uncommon.

In 2007, an APA task force report on the issue observed, “The visibility of SOCE has increased in the last decade. … From our survey of recent publications and research, most SOCE currently seem directed to those holding conservative religious and political beliefs, and recent research on SOCE includes almost exclusively individuals who have strong religious beliefs.”

SB 1172 is awaiting approval in the Assembly, and if signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, the bill would make California the first state in the U.S. with a law restricting the therapy.

Lieu’s office offered no comment on the letter when contacted by LGBTQ Nation.

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