Living the PRIDE. It’s not only about protests and political action, but also about enjoying the freedom to live as created. There continue to be many who oppose that freedom and would return America to the days prior to 1950 when the closets were filled with gay men and women who feared physical harm, incarceration and personal shame. We’ve come a long way, baby, and those closet doors have been permanently thrown open never to be shut on us again neither by government nor religion.
But, some will try. Conversion therapy is alive and well among fundamentalist Christian groups determined to “change” gays, especially minor children, to a heterosexual orientation. Years ago this conversion used barbaric methods including shock therapy, aversion therapy and in extreme cases, lobotomy. Being gay was not an acceptable family nor church circumstance.
Today’s methods, not as drastic, resort primarily to counseling and role playing in attempts to make a gay person straight. Conversion therapy is, however, unanimously discredited by mainstream psychological and psychiatric associations citing the potential for severe emotional damage to developing young minds. Many of those who condone this ‘therapy’ apply the delusional thought that the lifestyle is chosen and not innate.
Whenever this hypothesis is presented to me, my response is always, “OK, so you are a straight man/woman. If heterosexuals were a 10% minority and you were directed to become one of the gay majority, either by will power or conversion therapy, could you do it? Could you refute what has always been normal behavior for you?”
Usually the response is hands thrown in the air, a shrug, a scornful face and a few expletives as that person abandons his/her attempt to ‘change’ me. I WAS BORN THIS WAY. But even if my way of living were a choice, you, dear evangelizer, have no right to inflict your views upon me. That’s the wonderful thing about freedom – we have the right to choose. Choice is life’s golden ticket.
I have referred numerous times to the SPLC, a non-profit dedicated to exposing and prosecuting discrimination against minority groups. Recently, it won a New Jersey case against JIFGA, Jewish Institute for Global Awareness, citing the bogus practice of facilitating gay to straight conversions. Not only was JIFGA ordered to dissolve, it also will be paying the plaintiffs’ attorney fees and a financial settlement. Follow the link above, JIFGA, for the full story.