Letter: Letter Raises More Questions

I was kind of disappointed in the conversion therapy point of view by Jeannine Kreiger (Conversion Therapy Ban Is Discriminatory, July 7), because it left more questions than answers. The writer uses NARTH (National Association for Research Therapy for Homosexuals) as a source, but never mentions that NARTH considers homosexuality a “mental disorder,” and often teams up with fundamentalist Christian organizations and LDS, and that fits well with the states that allow conversion therapy. It seems a bit delineated by religion. The states that outlaw conversion therapy have fewer fundamentalist citizens and vice versa.

Because certain states don’t ban it, counties and cities have taken up the task. Also, I might note, many, many countries ban the practice.

Ms. Kreiger leaves out the statements by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), of which NARTH was a member, stating that “NARTH created an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish,” and in 2009 made a declaration telling clients to “avoid reparative therapy.” NARTH is no longer a member of the APA, and one of its executives is serving an 18-month sentence for being a con-man, and they have lost their tax-exempt status. Also, I could not find her quote, “there is no negative proof from conversion therapy.”

Prior treatments for this “mental disorder” included ice pick therapy, chemical castration, electric shock to hands and genitals, social skills training, psychological training and (note) spiritual training. The president of NARTH lectured and spoke to causation of homosexuality being “inadequate parenting” and that it didn’t fulfill “God’s intention.” This exudes gross simplification and certainly has no place in our society, and our innocent children sent to therapy by confused/disappointed and religious custom, parental belief systems, should cease.

Ms. Kreiger states that our elected leaders are not “health experts,” but neither are they construction, public safety, zoning, education or public works experts. No, they rely on experts, and we elect them to use their judgement in our behalf. Experts advise our elected officials, and so, too, is it here with children’s safety and well-being.

She also states, “If people want to live out their religious convictions, but are banned from doing so, that’s religious discrimination.” I would suggest, enlisting quackery and pain is not in the realm of freedoms allowed, especially to innocent children. The fact that she uses “religious freedom” as an excuse or reason, bespeaks lots of that determination, for indeed anti-gay is discrimination (exacting horrific treatment) despite her denial, and re-programming, brainwashing by its very nature, is wrong.

The APA, she states, says there is “no negative proof from conversion therapy.” Why then have most of the previous therapies been outlawed, and why does almost every medical/psychiatric association, starting with the AMA, state it is not innocuous, as it can lead to trauma and further confusion, depression and some suicides? I would suggest that religious customs be stopped from initiating all traumatic cures, including for homosexuality, and that any group using unorthodox methodology prove their worth. Prove “no harm,” the medical standard, because psychiatric experts say that this old custom, religious-oriented conversion therapy should be stopped. It reminds me of exorcisms.

As with all forms of persecution, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., they should be extirpated, and we know that there will always be excuses for maintaining these persecutions, and they will always claim loss of freedom/rights, and finally, there will always be those who must be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

This is about children brought by parents to be converted, brainwashed, indoctrinated against something that may be questionable/depressing/shocking to the parents, but let there be no mistake about the possibility of injury to these innocents, indeed it is the parents who might need therapy, inclusive of education.

Look to the political affiliation of Mayor Anne Gerwig, and that is part and parcel to the issue in my opinion: the party of election obstacles for minorities, the party allowing for women’s inequality for same job/same pay, and the party against equal rights for gays, as recent history so blatantly shows, or it’s just a coincidence. I believe not!

George P. Unger, Wellington