Today was the first time I’ve been asked by MoveOn.org for my thoughts on whether they should send this petition to its members. I thought it was a strange one to ask and with no explanation about why, it made me wonder that maybe even progressives have a problem with the sexual orientation of others.
Here’s what they wrote:
“A MoveOn member named Aaron Ostrom recently created a petition on our public petition website entitled “Ban “gay conversion therapy” in Washington!”-and we’d like to know what you think of it.
The petition is addressed to The Washington State Senate, and reads:
The idea that being gay can be “cured” is universally discredited by every major professional psychological, psychiatric and counseling association. Please support HB 2451 to restrict sexual orientation efforts for minors by licensed medical or mental health providers in Washington state.
Here’s what Aaron wrote about it:
The state house voted 94-4 to ban controversial “pray away the gay” practices for minors in Washington. The Senate must pass the bill by Friday to become law this year but the conservative committee chair is refusing to allow a vote.
We’ll decide whether to send this petition out to additional MoveOn members in your area based on your feedback.
In case you haven’t heard about it, MoveOn’s petition site allows anyone to start an online petition and share it with friends and neighbors to build support for their cause.
Thanks for all you do.”
I am not even sure the why of this question?
For me as a straight ally to LGBTs, this therapy only adds to the prejudice against a group of human beings, suggesting that their orientation is a choice. Those professional groups named in the petition discredit any so-called cures and enough reason for this petition to go through.
In June of 2013, the religious group Exodus shut down their long-term operation and apologized to the gay community. There has been much harm caused to people who have gone through reparative therapy, which is not sanctioned by any professional medical group.
With so much evidence that sexual orientation is not a choice, but an orientation that you are born with, I see no reason for this question, and every reason for the petition being allowed to go out to members. It is an issue of human rights and dignity. The sooner we can distance ourselves and protect individuals from practices that harm any targeted group the better.
I need to ask Moveon.org, why this question?
“Mainstream American medical and scientific organizations have expressed concern over conversion therapy and consider it potentially harmful. The advancement of conversion therapy may cause social harm by disseminating inaccurate views about sexual orientation. The ethics guidelines of major mental health organizations in the United States vary from cautionary statements about the safety, effectiveness, and dangers of prejudice associated with conversion therapy (American Psychological Association), to recommendations that ethical practitioners refrain from practicing conversion therapy (American Psychiatric Association) or from referring patients to those who do (American Counseling Association).”
“Conversion therapy – sometimes known as reparative or “sexual reorientation” therapy – is a dangerous practice based on the premise that people can change their sexual orientation, literally “converting” from gay to straight. Conversion therapy has been discredited or highly criticized by virtually all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations.”
“A 2009 APA task force found that conversion therapies, despite being touted by religious organizations, have little evidence to back them up. A review of studies from 1960 to 2007 found only 83 on the topic, the vast majority of which did not have the experimental muscle to show whether the therapies achieved their stated goals. (Many of the people studied in the early years were court-mandated to take the therapies, adding a coercive element to those outcomes.)”