Gay conversion therapy is wrong and should be made illegal
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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.
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).
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