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Gay conversion therapy treatment is unethical

Tyler Groves, Opinion Writer
December 12, 2012
Filed under Opinion

Fearing the results of telling his Orthodox Jewish parents that he was gay, Sheldon Bruck of California tried to solve his problem himself. After searching the Internet, Bruck stumbled upon the group known as Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing. The therapists at JONAH said 17-year-old Bruck had a mental disorder that could be healed through conversion therapy.

JONAH co-director Arthur Goldberg promised therapy as long as Bruck put forth the effort to change. The therapy, which can cost up to $10,000 a year, ended in a lawsuit filed by Bruck and several other ex-patients against JONAH, Goldberg and a JONAH counselor.

The lawsuit stated the treatment put the individuals involved at risk of depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior. Bruck quit after five sessions.

These sessions included being stripped naked in group sessions, intimately cuddling with members of the same sex, beating effigies of their mothers and being subjected to ridicule in mock locker room scenarios.

Since the lawsuits, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is handling the case, identified 70 conversion therapy providers across the nation.

Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed a law making it illegal for licensed counselors to use the therapy with clients under the age of 18. Brown was happy to pass the law, calling the practice quackery.

Calling homosexuality a mental illness certainly is quackery. A person’s sexual preference is no more an illness than a person’s preference to chocolate ice cream.

Besides the uncomfortable and humiliating sessions, adding to the offensiveness of the therapy is the idea of homosexuality being a choice.

t the moment, the gay community agrees homosexual attractions are not a choice. They say they are destined to be gay.

Throughout history, there have been many views on homosexuality. According to an article from the Huffington Post, the variance of these views goes from being completely expected to being a crime punishable by death.

It is a person’s surroundings that determine his or her views on homosexuality, among other things. For example, a modern American would be disgusted to find they’ve been fed horse meat instead of beef even though there is nothing unhealthy about it.

The fact that people can grow up around extreme hatred of homosexuality and still find themselves attracted to members of the same sex suggest it’s no choice. Many newly discovered homosexuals initially hate themselves for what they feel as it is the response they have grown up with.

More concrete evidence can be found in genetics studies. In 1993, a study published in the Journal Science showed families with two homosexual brothers were likely to have certain genetic markers on a region of the X chromosome known as Xq28.

There is also a much greater chance for a homosexual to have a gay sibling or relative than a heterosexual person.

The idea of needing intensive, costly and unusual therapy to make someone a heterosexual is evidence that homosexuality isn’t a choice. If there was any choice in the matter, the therapy wouldn’t be necessary.

If anything, conversion therapy is closer to shameless brainwashing than a healing of a mental illness. Any success these sessions have had is nothing but forced delusion.

No one should have to be brainwashed into feeling right about himself. The best course of action would be to ban conversion therapies for people over 18 as well.

Instead, teach people to break free from societal prejudices and learn to love themselves as they are.

Who a person loves should be nobody else’s business.