Advocates of “conversion” therapy often promote the practice as a means for gay children and adults to successfully rid themselves of “unwanted sexual desires.” This aforementioned “conversion” is supposedly accomplished through a wide variety of methods, which can include showing the subject images of gay sex scenes accompanied by sensations of extreme heat, extreme cold, or even extreme pain, and in some cases, may even include electroshock therapy. These methods among others utilized by “conversion” therapy practitioners and the detrimental psychological effect these methods have on the subject are contributing factors to the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the National Association of Social Workers (to name a few) all officially denouncing such efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation as likely to cause severe and long-lasting psychological harm to the subject.
As of this writing, the only U.S. states which have enacted legislation to ban “conversion” therapy for minors under the age of 18 are California and New Jersey. In the past year, there have been several efforts to enact similar bans on the practice in more than half a dozen other states plus the District of Columbia (which is scheduled to hold hearings on the subject starting Friday), however, most of these efforts have stalled.
Enter the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). On Tuesday, the group announced the start of a new campaign entitled #BornPerfect, which aims to ban “conversion” therapy throughout the entire United States of America within the next five years.
The Advocate reports:
The new campaign involves working with activists, organizers, lawmakers, and citizens to enact legislation in all 50 states outlawing the use of “reparative therapy” on minors by licensed therapists and counselors within the next five years. NCLR hopes to accomplish this by providing state legislators and LGBT leaders with comprehensive resources to build local campaigns against the discredited practice, then continuing to work closely with lawmakers and advocates as they draft legislation and testifying in support of such bills in state legislatures. The legal group is already in touch with a number of LGBT adults who were subjected to such treatment as children and can speak directly to the harm it caused them.
The campaign’s website hosted by the NCLR contains sections on the dangers of conversion therapy, survivor stories, proposed and active pieces of legislation, active legal cases, a resource center, and much more. Please do yourselves a favor and check it out. You won’t regret it!