Editorial: Ban gay conversion therapy


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Gay conversion therapy is the act of attempting to alter someone’s sexual identity by means of “aversive therapy,” which uses shock therapy, for example, or induces nausea and vomiting while projecting homoerotic images, and is by its very nature a sinister practice.

Even if we take away the intent of the process, the methods by which the therapy is performed and the fact that they are performed on children is enough to make the therapy a questionable practice. In fact, there is no longer a question as to the idiocy of gay conversion therapy in the eyes of almost every professional mental health organization.

The White House announced its support for banning the practice of gay conversion therapy Tuesday at the state level in response to a petition that received more than 120,000 signatures.

Iowa has a bill that would ban the practice from being performed on those younger than 18, but it will likely hit a wall in a Republican dominated state government. However, similar legislation has already been passed in California and the District of Columbia, while 18 other states, including Iowa, have proposed legislation to ban gay conversion therapy.

Only one state — Oklahoma, the home state of U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, who claims to have never had a gay family member or divorce in his family and apparently also has never seen a snowball in February — proposed legislation to protect the practice, but the bill did not pass.

However, the abusive and destructive methods are made only more despicable when we consider the end goal of the therapy. The goal is to make young boys and girls believe they are flawed. The goal is to make people believe the way they peacefully love is wrong. The goal, most terribly, is to make boys and girls feel less of themselves. It is a disgusting process and it is one we must not abide in the state of Iowa and if you asked President Obama, any other state.

The point is that there is significant national sentiment for banning the process and Iowan politicians should not feel they are establishing a national precedent, but instead doing their jobs by responding to the changing feelings and priorities of their constituents.

We live in Iowa, a state that was among the first to legalize same-sex marriage. Keeping that fact in mind, what ground do we have to stand on to attempt to stop people from being gay, lesbian, transgender or however they are born?

Even if the bill passed in Iowa, gay conversion therapy would only be prohibited for use on people under the age of 18. If a person is so inclined, they would be, and should be as citizens of the United States with power over their own lives, able to seek therapy. However, we would no longer be forcing the treatment on minors who may very well be perfectly happy just the way they are. Instead, performing this life-altering, potentially life-destroying practice on children would finally be called what it really is: a crime.