Opinion: Conversion therapy should be banned across America

People gather in New York City waving pride flags and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community going against the ideas of conversion therapy.

Wikimedia Commons

People gather in New York City waving pride flags and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community going against the ideas of conversion therapy.

Alli Wank, Guest Writer

Over half of the states in America support conversion therapy, a practice that tries to convert members of the LGBTQ community to heterosexuality, and it’s extremely wrong, hateful and cruel.

The procedure has no benefits whatsoever and doesn’t give the prejudice the results they want; homosexuality is not a disease. “Conversion therapy is premised on the false notion that being LGBTQ is a mental illness that should be cured, despite all major medical associations’ agreement that LGBTQ identities are a normal variant of human nature,” stated The Trevor Project campaign.

Many who go through conversion therapy face long term mental problems. The Human Rights Campaign reported, “Highly rejected LGBTQ young people were more than eight times as likely to have attempted suicide…nearly six times as likely to report high levels of depression.”

Even with all of these alarming statistics available they are just ignored. A large percentage of LGBTQ people do undergo conversion therapy still and leaving with negative outcomes. “Nearly 700,000 people in the United States have been through conversion therapy, with 350,000 of those who faced it during their adolescence,” wrote Mathew Shurka, co-founder of Born Perfect campaign.

America wishes to put minors through this damaging and horrible process and even with the frightening stats. Shurka wrote, “Estimated 20,000 LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13 and 17 will undergo conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional…about 57,000 youth will receive the treatment from a religious or spiritual advisor.”

Even a former leader of the practice has spoken out about it and how it is a wrong, unjust procedure. McKrae Game, the founder of Hope For Wholeness, recently came out as gay and would later go on to speak his truth on Facebook. He wrote, “I’ll take advantage of any opportunity I get to share my experiences, and my belief that exgay ministry and conversion therapy IS HARMFUL.”

While these just seem like numbers, it’s proven by talking to the people who have actually experienced it. Survivor Amanda Loucks spoke out about the terrible long term affects conversion therapy had on her. She wrote, ”While many told me conversion therapy would bring me closer to God, attempts to change my sexual orientation led to an eating disorder, and I became suicidal.”

Some organizations went beyond just mental abuse and started getting physical with their “patients.” Contributor Deb Cuny shared the story of her traumatizing experience in conversion therapy. She wrote, “I was being held down against my will. My head and my face were being grabbed at, and they were coming at me forcefully, screaming in my eyes with the belief that they were praying away the gay in me. This went on for hours.”

Alison Rolf is the club adviser for the Gay-Straight Alliance and is strongly against this practice.  “It’s based on the idea that being queer in any way is an illness and it’s not so it’s saying ‘you’re sick we need to fix you’ and that sick is a wrong assumption so there’s nothing to fix,” said Rolf.

LGBTQ student Riley Jones also stands against conversion therapy and its dangers. “It causes severe mental illness in multiple people and people are scared to come out because of it,” said Jones

Rolf believes the banning of it has a lot of benefits to society. She said, “Giving more acceptance to queer people gives more acceptance to everybody, that just makes the world a better place.”

A world without conversion therapy would be a more positive and accepting place for all.