Pray Away The Gay? No Way!
You may have heard that statement before. It’s been used in conjunction with a movement by some to change a person’s sexual orientation. Some of these groups are faith-based and hence the term, “Pray away the gay”. The problem is that many times it was abuse and shame heaped upon the person in question, all in the name of “therapy”.
That can’t happen anymore at least not among state licensed mental health providers in California. Legislators have passed a bill that bans therapists licensed by the state from providing so-called “gay cure” via conversion therapy. One person who spoke out in support of the bill, described his experience this way:
“As a young teen, the anti-gay practice of so-called conversion therapy destroyed my life and tore apart my family. In order to stop the therapy that misled my parents into believing that I could somehow be made straight, I was forced to run away from home, surrender myself to the local department of human services, and legally separate myself from my family. At the age of 16, I had lost everything. My family and my faith had rejected me, and the damaging messages of conversion therapy, coupled with this rejection, drove me to the brink of suicide.” -Ryan Kendall
Sounds good, right? But is the state encroaching upon parental right? In this case, perhaps not.
Rene’s not a fan of the government stepping in and telling people how to parent BUT she is adamant about the fact that it must happen if there is potential for real harm to the child. She thinks that’s the case here and despite her aversion to the long arm of government, stands behind this law. As for me, while I believe there are several forms of abuse and this is clearly one, I think the law is a little far reaching.
Some kids need an educated ear that doesn’t belong to their parents (like I did). So I think therapy for teens who are identifying themselves with the LGBT could be a good thing for them (and all kids, frankly) as they head into adulthood. What they don’t need is someone trying to convert them, but someone with an educated ear who can help them deal with the bullies, their families, and the rest of society.
So what do you think? Is this bill overstepping the reach of parents?
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Ella Rucker is a mother of a two-year-old girl and the guardian of two boys. She is currently working on dispelling the myth that being a “stay at home mom” has anything to do with staying at home. Ella moved from Ohio to New York City twelve years ago where she is currently assisting the head GEM and proving that sticking your neck out just might help you win the race. She loves to read about the “mental laws” and seeing them work in her life, but her greatest joy is laughing madly and wildly with her daughter who amazes her everyday. You can also find her writing for mochamanual.com or by following her tweets @ellalaverne.