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Michigan Democrat Adam Zemke Introduces Bill To Ban Gay Conversion Therapy in the State

Adam zemke

New legislation has been introduced by Michigan Democrat Rep. Adam Zemke which aims to ban gay conversion therapy for minors in the state, reports mlive.com.

Zemke hopes Michigan can join California and New Jersey in banning “ex-gay” therapy for under-18s.  Efforts to introduce bans on conversion therapy in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York state have been blocked or stalled.

Zemke said:

"The evidence shows you cannot change sexual orientation, so the legislation was kind of a no-brainer. We want to make sure children cannot be exposed to situations that are emotionally harmful to them because of their parents' beliefs or desires to try to change their orientation."

In 2009, the American Psychological Association said that attempts to change sexual orientation are ineffective and can have harmful side effects including depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety.

Zemke has had positive support from some Republicans. However, Republican Rep. Gail Haines, chair of the House Health Policy Committee, said that new laws intervening in the relationship between parents and their children "seems unnecessary."

The “ex-gay” movement has had a number of recent setbacks. Last week, Duane Youngblood was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a teenager. Yesterday, we reported that Yvette Cantu Schneider, one of the most vocal and best known representatives of the ex-gay movement, announced that she no longer wishes to identify with anti-gay groups.


'Ex-Gay' Activist Yvette Cantu Schneider Comes Out In Support Of LGBT Rights

Yvette Cantu Schneider, one of the most vocal and best known representatives of the ex-gay movement, has announced that no longer wishes to identify with anti-gay groups, reports GLAAD.

225050_10150202052319238_2061929_nSchneider is known for her high-profile start at hate group the Family Research Council and her work with California's Proposition 8 campaign.  She is still one of the key people who anti-gay voices cite in order to prove that "change" works. The American Family Association continues to sell a video, It's Not Gay, in which Yvette appears as a talking head. Her "personal testimony" still appears on Ex-gaytruth.com.

However, Schneider has said that she is sorry for the pain she has caused to LGBTI people, is questioning of the idea of "ex-gay" itself and is now fully supportive of LGBT people and their families.

In her recently published book Never Not Broken: A Journey of Unbridled Transformation, Schneider "struggles to heal from difficult events from her childhood, the abuses and hypocrisies of religious leaders, and the effects of her own denial of the feminine divine" and ultimately "discovers her true self."

Writing for GLAAD yesterday, Schneider explained how, following the stress brought on by her five-year-old daughter’s diagnosis with leukemia, she sought the help of psychologist Dr. Diana Wright who taught her mindfulness meditation and guided imagery meditation.

She goes on to explain:

“I had neglected the feminine and the feminine divine when I embraced patriarchal dogma that regarded women as secondary to men...It was only when I embraced this true self that I regained my life. It meant shedding many of the beliefs I had espoused for decades—beliefs about what it means to be gay, and what it means to treat people with dignity and respect.

“This change has cost me friendships and the respect of certain people. But that’s okay. I don’t expect everyone to understand my journey. One thing is for sure: Never again will I deny my authentic self in order to gain the approval and acceptance of others. It isn’t worth it.”

A Q&A with Schneider will be published by GLAAD today.

Schneider's defection is another recent blow for the ex-gay movement after Pennsylvania pastor Duane Youngblood was arrested last week on suspicion of sexually assaulting a teenager.


'Ex-Gay' Pittsburgh Pastor Duane Youngblood Accused Of Molesting Teenage Boy

Duane Youngblood, author of Freedom From Homosexuality: No Longer Living The Lie and owner of the Higher Call World Outreach Church in Homestead, Pennsylvania, has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a teenager.

YoungbloodThe boy, now aged 21, told police that the pastor sexually abused him between 2009 and 2001 while Youngblood was supposed to be counseling him, reports CBS Pittsburgh. Youngblood is also accused of showing the teen an adult movie on his computer.

The pastor reportedly asked his victim not to tell his mother “because he didn’t want to get into trouble.”

In his 2006 book, Youngblood "shares insights and truth to help anyone struggling with perversions find a place of forgiveness and deliverance in God."

Neighbors say the pastor, who is a registered sex offender, is married with multiple children.

In 2006, Youngblood was sentenced to one year of intermediate punishment and seven years’ probation after he was found guilty of molesting a 15-year-old boy whom he was also counseling.


Zachary Quinto Signs on to Star with James Franco in Film About 'Ex-Gay' Activist Michael Glatze

Glatze_franco

Back in April we reported that James Franco was set to play Michael Glatze, founder of the (now shuttered) gay twink magazine XY and the short-lived publication Young Gay America who went "ex-gay" and became a poster boy for that movement.

QuintoNow Variety reports that Zachary Quinto and Emma Roberts have signed on to the film:

Quinto will play the former boyfriend of Franco’s character. Roberts is set to reteam with her “Palo Alto” co-star as his girlfriend. Chris Zylka (“The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Piranha 3DD”) is also attached to the film as another past love interest.

The script for “Michael” is based on “My Ex-Gay Friend,” a New York Times Magazine article by Benoit Denizet-Lewis (author of “Travels with Casey”) about Michael Glatze, a Christian minister from Wyoming who was so entrenched in gay culture before rejected his homosexuality, he founded a gay youth magazine. Justin Kelly will direct. Gus van Sant is the executive producer, along with producers James Franco, Vince Jolivette, Michael Mendelsohn, Ron Singer and Scott Reeve.


U.S. Supreme Rejects Challenge To California’s Ban On Conversion Therapy For Minors

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511c72080970c-250wiThe U.S. Supreme Court today announced it would let stand California’s ban on gay reparative or “conversion” therapy for minors, Bloomberg News reports. The ban, passed by the California State Assembly in 2012, was challenged by professionals who practice sexual orientation change therapy, two families who say their teenage sons benefited from it and a national association of Christian mental health counselors. 

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case and in August of 2013 upheld the ban, as a press release issued from The National Center for Lesbian Rights, who sponsored and helped defend the law, points out:

On August 29, 2013, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the law, ruling that the plaintiffs in two legal challenges could not succeed on their claim that the law infringes the free speech rights of therapists who wish to engage in these dangerous and long-discredited practices.

The full Ninth Circuit court declined to further review that decision, and the plaintiffs in the two lawsuits then asked the Supreme Court to review the cases. The Supreme Court denied those requests today, meaning that the Ninth Circuit panel’s decision upholding the law will be the final decision on the plaintiffs’ free-speech claims and the California law may be enforced.

The California ban was the first of its kind to be passed in the U.S. and can now be put into effect having cleared its final legal hurdle before implementation could begin.

New York recently failed to pass a similar ban on reparative therapy for minors. In Texas, the GOP Party platform endorses gay conversion therapy, though the Texas GOP party chairman has come out against the policy.


NCLR Launches Nationwide Campaign to Protect LGBT Youth from Harmful ‘Reparative Therapy’

BornPerfect logo

Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) launched #BornPerfect: The Campaign to End Conversion Therapy – an initiative that seeks to eliminate the practice of so-called “ex-gay” or “reparative” therapy through increased public awareness and the passage of laws across the country to protect LGBT kids from the serious harm caused by these practices.

NCLR_logo“The time is long overdue to stop the severe harms being inflicted on young LGBT children and their families by these dangerous practices,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “These practices have been thoroughly discredited by every major mental health organization, and yet, every day, unethical therapists continue to abuse their professional authority to deceive parents and wreck the lives of youth who deserve nothing but support.”

The campaign also includes facts about conversion therapy and its harm, information about related legislation and legal cases across the country, as well as survivor stories and support networks.

As a Texan watching our state's GOP enshrine reparative therapy into its party platform while our governor likens homosexuality to alcoholism, I can't think of a better time to push forward the message to LGBT youth that they are perfect just the way they are.   

More on the NCLR campaign here


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