Thursday, May 01, 2008
Here's a long and interesting article called Youth In The Crosshairs, researching the impact of 'ex-gay' pseudo-treatment programs. For those of you who haven't heard of them, they're a part of the Christian Right in America; they regard homosexuality as a mental illness (despite the fact that the American Psychiatric Association declassified it as such in 1973), and work on 'curing' it in teenagers. Predictably, their promises are misleading, their methods unethical, their handling of definitions is slippery and the harm they wreak is considerable.
One interesting thing the article points out is that the parents who send their kids off to be de-gayed are not necessarily as hateful as you'd think; they're misinformed. Trusted sources tell them that gay people have a far higher chance of domestic violence, abusive relationships, drug addiction, depression and all sorts of scary things that no loving parent would want their child to go through. In the absence of better information, parents are liable to believe liars who tell them 'Your son will be dead by thirty if we don't help him now', and send the kids to these dreadful places much as a better-informed parent might send a drug-addicted kid to a detox clinic. (Tragically, of course, the child's risk of depression is actually much greater for having been put through 'conversion therapy' than if he or she had just been left alone, but parents aren't told that.) Homophobia's in there, but the real motive, apparently, is misplaced fear for the child's life.
The article is very long, but very memorable. Have a look.
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