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Iowa Senate OKs Ban On Gay Conversion Therapy — 'The Worst Kind Of Child Abuse'

Iowa

In a straight (no pun intended) party-line vote, the Iowa Senate on Tuesday approved a proposal to ban gay conversion therapy for minors. 

Twenty six Democrats voted in favor of the measure, while 24 Republicans voted against it. 

The bill would prohibit licensed mental health professionals from attempting to change the sexual orientation of anyone under 18. Only California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., have passed similar laws. 

The Des Moines Register reports: 

Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, urged support for the bill, saying lawmakers were seeking to prohibit a discredited practice.

"I am heterosexual, and I would hate to go to a therapist who would try to convert me to be gay," said Bolkcom, adding that the legislation would send the message to Iowans that "being gay is OK." ... 

Sen. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola, spoke against the bill, saying the most important issue is one of choice.

"There may be parents and minors who desire this kind of counseling, and should we deprive them of that choice, particularly if they want to go to a licensed professional?" Garrett said. "I believe we ought to leave this choice up to the parent and the minors involved. If they do want it, it should be their right."

Matthew_McCoy_-_Official_Portrait_-_84th_GAOpenly gay Iowa Sen. Matt McCoy (right) called conversion therapy "the worst kind of child abuse" and urged his colleagues to "stand on the right side of history." Unfortunately, the bill isn't likely to pass the Republican-controlled House, due to opposition from Christian conservatives. 

It's interesting that these so-called Christians couch arguments against conversion therapy bans in terms of freedom, yet they do not support the freedom to marry. 

Also, it's notable that unlike other proposed conversion therapy bans around the country, the Iowa bill — which you can read here — doesn't include gender identity. 

This is a curious exclusion, especially in the wake of the highly publicized suicide of trans teen Leelah Alcorn.

Most state and national LGBT organizations have long had a policy of not supporting legislation that isn't fully trans-inclusive. So it's unclear to us why this standard isn't being applied to conversion therapy bans. 

CORRECTION: Gender identity and expression are included in the Iowa bill under the definition of "sexual orientation change efforts." 


Out Lesbian Lawmaker Fights Back Against Texas GOP's Endorsement of 'Ex-Gay Therapy'

Israel4 

Out lesbian state Rep. Celia Israel says she was "infuriated" when the Texas GOP added a plank endorsing "ex-gay therapy" to its platform last year. 

On Friday, Israel responded by introducing a bill that would ban the so-called therapy for minors. The bill is going nowhere in the right-wing Texas Legislature, but Israel said it's an important symbolic response to the Republican Party's anti-gay hatred — which has been further evidenced by more than 15 anti-LGBT bills filed in the current session. 

The Texas Observer reports: 

"I don’t think that they recognize how hurtful these kinds of things can be,” Israel said. “To suggest that some young kid that happens to be gay is less than normal is very hurtful and harmful and dangerous, and I think I put myself back in those years when I was first discovering who I was. … I felt strongly about introducing a bill that was a counter to that, to say, ‘We don’t need fixing. We just need your love.'”

Pickup.David_David Pickup, a licensed counselor who practices "ex-gay therapy" in Dallas — where he put up a billboard recently — said this of the proposed ban:  

“It results in further abuse of children because it doesn’t let them become who they actually are,” Pickup said. “It also takes away any possibility at all of children who are sexually abused by same-sex pedophiles from getting any help whatsoever to reduce or eliminate homosexual feelings that are caused by that.”

Thus far, only California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., have banned "ex-gay therapy" for minors, but several other states are considering it. Equality Texas, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Human Rights Campaign issued a joint release applauding Israel's bill:   

“Time and again we see the psychological wreckage from so-called conversion therapy and it has to stop,” said Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas. “Even onetime champions of this dangerous technique have changed their minds as the evidence piles up that such ‘therapy’ doesn’t work and, worse, is dangerous.  Rep. Israel’s leadership here is welcome and puts the wellbeing of children first.” ... 

“No child should be subjected to this extremely harmful and discredited so-called therapy,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “These harmful practices are based on the false claim that being LGBT is a mental illness that should be cured, using fear and shame to tell young people that the only way to find love or acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are. Psychological abuse has no place in therapy, no matter the intention."

“Today, more than ever, it is clear that LGBT youth and their families need accurate information about the dangers of these unscientific and unethical practices, and this bill is a powerful educational tool. For the first time in history, laws like this are shining a light on an issue that has remained in the shadows for too long,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Staff Attorney and #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator Samantha Ames.  


Colorado House of Representatives Moves Forward With Ban on Gay Conversion Therapy for Minors

A bill that would forbid therapists in Colorado from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person under 18 passed an initial voice vote yesterday in the state House of Representatives, the AP reports:

RosenthalThe sponsor of the bill, Democratic Rep. Paul Rosenthal (right), a gay lawmaker from Denver, said the goal is for therapists to help youth pursue acceptance and support for who they are.

"Helping the youth explore their identity — who they are, not who the therapist thinks they are or who the therapist thinks they should be,” he said.

The Denver Post adds:

House Republican leader Brian DelGrosso, R-Loveland, said legislators should consider the potential unintended consequences and predicaments for well-meaning therapists.

"The way I read this bill is that if you're a kid who's confused, it would be legal for me to talk to you about going toward the same sex, but illegal for me to counsel you toward an opposite-sex attraction," he said.

The bill faces a final vote of approval before being sent to the Senate, currently controlled 18-17 by Republicans. 

Similar bans on conversion therapy for minors exist in New Jersey, California, and Washington D.C.

 


VICE Takes You Inside The Tragic and Deadly World Of Gay 'Conversion' Therapy - VIDEO

Journey Into Manhood Conversion Therapy

Conversion therapy, the practice where patients try to be "cured" of their homosexuality or "wrong" gender identification, has long since been discredited and deemed harmful. And yet, poor souls brought up in environments where they are taught to despise themselves still seek this treatment out. VICE has posted two parts of a three-part documentary on the world of conversion therapy through exclusive access to the Journey into Manhood program, and thus takes a different tone from the last time we mentioned Journey into Manhood when the reporter snuck in.

One would expect the documentary to be enraging - and listening to NARTH-founder Joseph Nicolosi insist that everyone is naturally heterosexual certainly angries up the blood, as does every other lie that dribbles out of his mouth - but it's more tragic than anything. A bunch of men who have been lied to at every turn and have been taught to hate themselves come together to try, in their own unskilled and awkward way, to "fix" something that isn't broken and reclaim masculinity that they think they've lost. It's especially sad to hear some of the men talk about how they were bullied and abused and driven to the point of suicide...and still think that the problem is within them, not with the cruelty and hatred of others.

It's a rough watch, but it is absolutely worth your while. You can find the first two parts of the documentary, totaling about 20 minutes runtime, AFTER THE JUMP...

Vice

Continue reading "VICE Takes You Inside The Tragic and Deadly World Of Gay 'Conversion' Therapy - VIDEO" »


Will Iowa Be the Next State to Ban Gay 'Conversion Therapy'?

An Iowa Senate subcommittee voted 2-1 on Wednesday to advance a bill banning harmful gay "conversion therapy" for minors, the Des Moines Register reports:

GarrettMost people who spoke at Tuesday's hearing supported the ban, including support from some religious organizations.

Tom Chapman, executive director of the Iowa Catholic Conference, said his organization was in support of the bill, though he did express concerns about how it may affect counselors at private Catholic schools. He said he spoke about the bill with counselors at Catholic Charities, as well.

...After hearing an hour of testimony, the subcommittee voted to amend the bill so that it would also protect individuals from conversion therapy based on their gender identity, though it stopped short of extending those same protections to transgender individuals.

Sen. Julian Garrett (pictured), the subcommittee's sole Republican, was the dissenting vote.

California, New Jersey, and D.C. have passed laws banning gay "conversion therapy". A similar bill is under consideration in Illinois. Recent attempts to pass the legislation in Virginia and New York have failed.


UK Evangelical Leader Comes Out As Lesbian, Rejects ‘Ex-Gay’ Past: VIDEO

Jayne Ozanne

Jayne Ozanne, one of England’s leading evangelical leaders and a failed “ex-gay”, has come out as lesbian and accepted a position as head of a pro-gay evangelical Christian organization, reports Think Progress.

As a high-profile lay faith leader, Ozanne took part in “deliverance ministry,” a harmful practice similar to “ex-gay” therapy which has been banned in New Jersey, California and Washington, D.C. Last month, Virginia introduced a bill banning "ex-gay" therapy for minors.

A founding member of the Archbishops’ Council, Ozanne's repeated failed efforts to pray away the gay ultimately culminated in a nervous breakdown.

She came out to a select group in 2009 and had a five-year relationship with a woman. 

However, when Christian musician Vicky Beeching came out last year Ozanne was inspired to accept the position as head of Accepting Evangelicals, a “network of Evangelical Christians who believe the time has come to move towards the acceptance of faithful, loving same-sex partnerships at every level of church life, and the development of a positive Christian ethic for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.”

SchizzelWatch Ozanne explain her decision to come out, AFTER THE JUMP...

The ailing "ex-gay" movement has recently seen a number of high profile announcements from former “ex-gay” activists attacking “conversion therapy”. Last December, survivor Christian Schizzel (right) exposed his harmful "conversion" therapy at the hands Janet Boynes Ministries and GOP nuts Michele and Marcus Bachmann’s “counseling” services.

 

Continue reading "UK Evangelical Leader Comes Out As Lesbian, Rejects ‘Ex-Gay’ Past: VIDEO" »


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