Column: Attempting to convert the unconvertible

Gay conversion therapy is not only ridiculous, but extremely harmful to young people everywhere.

Imagine, for a moment, that you are sitting in a therapist’s office, pouring out your worries and fears and feelings to them. You have a lot of faith that they will help you feel better.

Now imagine them denouncing your feelings and forcing you to change who you are because you don’t fit their “model” of a normal human being, and when you can’t, they assure you that it needs to be done. The one person you trust calls you a failure in life.

This is what “gay conversion therapy” attempts to do for minors.

It is an unexplained wonder how this type of “therapy” is legal in so many states. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, almost 70 therapists practice conversion therapy in 20 states and Washington, D.C.. Their website also states that these “therapists” seek to change the sexual orientation of minors, with patients reporting an increase in anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

How is something that violates and takes advantage of a person’s privacy not illegal in the U.S.? These people are trying to forcibly and fundamentally change a person’s way of life, and, in the meantime, they are doing more harm than good. As explained, this type of ‘therapy’ can lead to an increased amount of mental instability. They are advocating the spread of mental illnesses. Putting someone else’s life in danger, whatever method, should always be illegal.

Thankfully, some states are taking steps in solving this crisis. According to Slate, an unanimous panel on the Third Circuit voted to uphold New Jersey’s ban on gay conversion therapy last Thursday. Reuters states that this is the second ban in the country after California, which banned this practice in 2012. This is an important step toward progress in solidifying equal rights for everyone.

It is especially essential to note that the federal appeals court upheld this ban in these two states numerous times. Not only are the state governments displaying their ideals on this issue publicly, the federal government is also taking a stance.

Hopefully, the bans that these two states imposed and the backing of the federal courts will inspire other states to enact similar laws. These lawmakers are not only making sure that therapists are not harming their patients; they are also sending a message to the rest of the country that gay conversion therapy is not OK. It is extremely harmful and hurts the psychological health of the minors that have to go through with it.

This type of therapy has been a barricade to the widespread acceptance of different sexual orientations. If there exists a type of therapy that claims that sexual orientation can be changed, people are less open and willing to grasp what the concept of LGBT is. They may be more inclined to vote against the case of equal rights because they believe that these labels do not mean anything. Destroying gay conversion therapy is the first step in destroying the notion that sexuality can be altered by outside forces.

Gay conversion therapy is a backwards practice that is advertised by inexperienced and careless people against equal rights for those who identify on the LGBT scale. We may not know why these people feel the need to attempt to change another person’s sexuality, but we do have plenty of evidence to prove that what they are doing does not correlate with the laws and ideals of this country.

If the federal government refuses to learn anything more from the recent upholding of the ban in New Jersey, I hope that 49 states are inspired to make a change in their own legislations.

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