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The Contender
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Gay conversion therapy is wrong and should be made illegal

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/19/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 715 times Debate No: 70361
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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I believe that gay conversion therapy, also referred to as "reparative therapy", should be illegal and so-called "therapists" should be unable to carry out their "treatment".
It is harmful to the person being exposed, can cause serious traumas as well as mental injuries and does often not have any scientifically proven background whatsoever.
Furthermore, every person should be able to have the freedom to choose over own life and person. We, as society, should enable ourselves to accept and protect individuals as those they are and not allow anyone to cause such harm towards another human being.

I think it is disturbing that this practice is still widely used within the US, especially considering the (very often) highly unethical, pseudo-science based "treatment methods", which probably may be nearer torture than treatment; Homosexuality is not a mental disorder, neither should it be considered to be. In addition, treatment should never include torture regardless of the problematic (not that homosexuality can be put into this category anyway, but I think it is important to point out that torture not belongs into nowadays treatment at all and in any way). Bottom line is that no innocent human being should be exposed to such cruelty as torture is, and we should do our best to strive towards that this not takes place. Although this may be utopia, we need to start somewhere"

At last, I would like to point out that I highly doubt that it is possible to change one"s sexuality orientation " regardless of different types of "therapy". The fact that some people still has this belief, despite living in the 21th century, is almost saddening.


Buddy, so long as people willingly join in this therapy and are able to leave at any point, than it should be legal. The people whom join these kinds of therapy do not want to be gay and go here to try and fix it. As you might say, they have a right to do what they please with their own lives.
Debate Round No. 1


I do agree about the whole perspective about freedom and being able to choose yourself, but how can it be ensured that those entering the therapy truly have joined the therapy willingly and is able to leave at any point? How does one tell that these people have made the decision without any pressure and/or influence by others? I guess this would be nearly impossible to decide. If they are under some sort of pressure, it could also make it a lot harder to leave the therapy if they potentially could be rejected by, for example, their family it can make it (even more) difficult to leave. Staying could then seem more pleasant, regardless of how terrible it may be.

In addition, a person might be influenced by other's opinion or view on being gay. Although not being said directly, the person may have sensed that it is frowned upon in their environment - and it surely is in certain environments.
Humans are social beings and are dependent on other people. Most likely we tend to try to fit in, and we are dependent on other people's accept and confirmation.
Does one experience either not fitting into the given environment, not being or not feeling accepted and lack confirmation from other people or even being rejected by the environment, one will - cleverly enough - try to adjust his or hers behavior in order to retrieve the needs. In order to know how to react in the given situation (for example a situation relating to fit in), the physiological processes imitation and identification are often used. The person may then "adopt" another person's (or society's) view on a given situation.
Anyway, my point is that even though the person wants to go into treatment it could be because of an underlying pressure that may not even be "visible" at all. It is someone's view, which the person has "adopted" in order to fit into the existing norms and values in the environment.

It should also be said, once again, that the therapy quite often does more harm than good. Even though one study have found that it may be possible to change one's sexual orientation, several former clients have experienced a)no change whatsoever or even worse b)psychological distress, depression and thoughts of suicide (1) (2). Furthermore, "there are no studies of adequate scientific rigor to conclude whether or not SOCE* work to change sexual orientation" (1). Eventually the mentioned study's author, Robert Spitzer, said that his study was invalid and "that there was no way to confirm that what his interviewees said was true" (3).

When entering the therapy, the person may not know about the harm that it [the therapy] can cause, and why should they? It is professionals that host the treatment, right? Unfortunately, no. The persons offering the treatments do often barely (if even) have any evidence- and science based educational background. For instance, the American Psychological Association (APA) does not recommend curing same sex attraction in any case. (3) Further, The Royal College of Psychiatrists and the American Psychiatric Association back up to concern regarding reparative therapy and consider it potentially harmful. (1) (3)

So to sum it up:
- It would be severely difficult to administrate whether the person has taken the decision with his or her own will and is able to leave the treatment at any point.
- The person can be heavily influenced by other people"s view.
- The treatment is often based of a non-evidence based concept with leads to the fact that:
- The therapy can cause serious mental harm and damage to the exposed person, furthermore without giving any guaranties whatsoever of the "wished result".

I do not see how it is possible to stop people being forced into this so-called therapy without banning the therapy itself and unable the persons providing it to carry out the therapy.
Moreover, considering that researchers found that being gay, lesbian or bisexual is compatible with normal health and social adjustment (1), there should be few reasons for not banning gay conversion therapy.

*SOCE = Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (which includes reparative therapy).



labarum forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


AnneBB forfeited this round.


labarum forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by AnneBB 3 years ago
I agree that there is a conflict built into the statement about the ability to choose for themselves.
However, I find it important to note that there is not enough scientifically evidence supporting the belief that is possible to change sexual orientation.
Further, being gay may not (at least not entirely) be a choice. One is simply not able to choose whether to be gay or not. According to Dr Michael Bailey from Northwestern University "sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice" (1). What really affects sexual orientation is, according to a study, genetics and environmental factors (this may even be the factors that has the biggest impact) (1).
The debate concerning whether being gay is a choice is yet still a never-ending debate; Even though several studies have been made, the actual cause of homosexuality has not yet been mapped out.
Nevertheless, there are few studies to conclude that being gay is entirely a choice.

Posted by emporer1 3 years ago
I find myself agreeing with the contender here. If they are in one of these therapy centers or programs then it is because they want to change. So by making it illegal you are taking away there ability to choose for themselves. You are literally arguing that we need to remove freedom in order to support freedom. If someone can choose to be gay then why can't they choose not to be?
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