By Rob Watson
The state of Oklahoma is considering a new bill to protect the practice of “reparative therapy”, pseudo-counseling that has the objective to make its clients not gay or lesbian. New Jersey and California have outlawed the practice for minors. It currently is quite legal to administer such practices in Oklahoma, and for that matter, most other states today.
Oklahoma is trying to insure that the practice stays in tact and has specifically spelled out the aspects of the practice to be protected (from the bill): “… any counseling by a mental health provider that exposes or asks a client or patient to undergo physical pain, such as electroshock or electroconvulsive therapy, touch therapy, pornography exposure or vomit-induction therapy, in order to change sexual behaviors or gender-identity expressions and/or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”
As a gay dad, I addressed this issue a few years ago when California was considering their bill, which became law. My statement at the time: “My take is that the healthy kid population of California needs this protection. As a parent, I am vigilant over my responsibilities and I am a “Daddy Grizzly” in care for my kids. But I understand that I am not all knowing, and like my children, while I may protest and feel my autonomy is threatened by boundaries, inside, I welcome them.
I welcome being restricted on things that through my ignorance or carelessness, I may inadvertently put my children at risk. I am not allowed to expose them to various adult material, substances, compulsion inducing behavior or to leave them alone in a heated car. I would not even want my own dogmatic evangelized agendas (if I had them) to harm my children—no matter what. If I fell in the shower and every lick of sense fell out of my head, and I decided that I was going to send my boys to some crack pot therapist to MAKE them gay…. Go ahead and stop me. Please. Seriously. I want my children safe. I want YOUR children safe.
Mental health professionals have concluded that risks from these therapies include ‘undermining self-esteem, connectedness and caring, important protective factors against suicidal ideation and attempts.’ Our kids will all be living in this world together, and if you screw up yours with damaging mental manipulation therapy, it will harm far more than just them. So, tell you what… let’s let them all get to 18, have their childhoods and develop to who they want to be. Then if you have worked your propaganda right, they will select the agendized “therapist” you want for them. But. I hope not.”
With Oklahoma’s proposed protections for what I consider child torture and abuse, I would amend my opinion to include this: “Not only do I not think it is within parental rights to administer aversion therapy to their children, to attempt to do so should be considered criminal. It is not just bad parenting, it is inhumane. Parents who advocate for such treatment of their kids should be stripped of all rights, and their children need to be offered immediate amnesty.”
Horrible anti-LGBT bills are being proposed in statehouses across the country. Oklahoma alone has several, this being just one. This one that makes me irate. It should do the same to you.
If it does, consider this. Oklahoma is only a state that has the tactless and ignorant intent to protect this practice. The practice itself exists in 48 states. Knowing that LGBT kids are being routinely made to vomit, being touched inappropriately or having electro shocks, should not make us want to even legally tolerate such inhumanity. It should do the opposite, it should inspire us to legally close it down and abolish its use on teens.
If we do that, then while trying to do evil, Oklahoma will have inadvertently put a spotlight on something that we can change for good.
Photo: Flickr/Ibrihim Asad