Outlawing Options

Outlawing Options

On March 4, I flew to Boston to testify at the Massachusetts’ capital hearing regarding the proposed bills H.140/S.70, which if passed, would ban conversion therapy.   My reasons for going were very personal and close to my heart. I feel strongly that the ban on conversion therapy for minors would greatly hinder much needed holistic care that health-care professionals can offer to children who question their sexual identity and orientation.   Many states desire to ban conversion therapy because it has been labeled harmful.And in fact, some of the examples of “conversion therapy” described in the hearings included such harmful practices as electric shock therapy, exposure to pornography, forced separation from loved ones, and extreme public shaming. However, the greater health-care community, including those with faith-based practices, already considers these methods barbaric and unethical. Blasted by the media, this kind of “conversion therapy” has become a straw man, erected with the intent of advocating one sided and biased counseling methods that support an ideology that sexuality is completely fixed.   But do not be misinformed. The proposed legislation in Massachusetts (and similar bills being proposed elsewhere) is about much, much more than protecting children from shock therapy and other ill-favored practices. These bills define “conversion therapy” in such a way as to prohibit any health-care professional from therapeutically questioning a minor’s sexual orientation or desire to transition gender.  Under this law, a health-care professional could have their license suspended for doing anything other than affirming a minor’s feelings of same-sex attraction or perceived gender identity. Furthermore, if passed, these laws would threaten parental rights. If a child’s physician prescribes medications, such as...