On Wednesday, President Barack Obama issued new White House policy to end Gay and Transgender “conversion therapy” leaving many to exclaim “thank God”. Men, women, and others the world over have been put through therapy meant to convert them into being “straight” instead of living their own lives as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or/and Queer (LGBTQ) individuals, with varying results. Many of these individuals are shamed by their family, friends, church, or society in general into undergoing this “conversion therapy”. United States (U.S.) President Obama is calling for a nationwide ending of underage individuals being put through conversion therapy.
Conversion therapy has been depicted in many fictitious novels and movies over the years, including but not limited to the controversial 1984, A Clockwork Orange, and even the comedy film Bruno. Sadly, these practices are used even now in the modern age, not in fiction but in reality. Some are put through electroshock therapy while being shown pictures of two men or women holding hands and kissing.
Drug therapies are also used, like being given copious amounts of psychotropic substances as an individual watches graphic programming regarding the tortures they will experience in hell. These images can sometimes include detailing how “Hitler had something right”, and video of sodomy being performed while one’s mother and father tell the individual how “they do not want this to happen to them”. A survivor of such conversion therapy, a gay nuclear scientist, describes
“I was put through electroshock treatment and had ice and hot copper coils bound to my hands while being forced to look at pictures of men touching each other. I became extremely suicidal and malnourished. I became terrified to hug another man, to scared to even touch one.”
This practice may seem ridiculous to some, even archaic, and think that the young man named Samuel Brinton is lying. Sadly, if one cannot believe the testimony of an MIT graduate who specializes in Nuclear Science, some may wonder who those individuals do trust.
In December 2014, a transgender individual named Leelah Alcorn committed suicide after posting a public suicide note over the web, as well as to her family stating “my therapists keep trying to tell me that I am supposed to be a boy”. Leelah was 17 years old, a minor, and threw herself in front of a semi-truck. A petition was started on January 3 2015, on the official Whitehouse.gov petition site to end conversion therapy on minors, the United States’ youths.
The petition received over 120,000 signatures in three months. The initial writer of the petition, known as A.W. was unavailable for comment. Luckily, for those who support the LGBTQ Community, President Obama himself commented on the petition against conversion therapy for youths with,
“Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, let’s say a young man, will struggle to fall asleep, wrestling alone with a secret he’s held as long as he can remember. Soon, perhaps, he will decide it’s time to let that secret out. What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his friends, his teachers, and his community. But it also depends on us; on the kind of society we engender, the kind of future we build.”
President Obama has long been a supporter of the LGBTQ Community, and pushed the Pentagon to end the long-standing “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding individuals openly declaring while in the armed forces that they are LGBTQ. President Obama was still in his first term. Some, mainly those in the Christian Community, consider President Obama to be a man acting against “God’s Law”. Others, however, feel that the U.S. President is sticking to what he has campaigned for since first running for President of The U.S. with lawful rights for the LGBTQ Community.
And act called “Leelah’s Law” is hoped to be passed sometime in the near future. Though President Obama’s administration has stated the law is not currently being supported on a Federal Level, it will be put to the voters in each State. President Obama’s goal is to end conversion therapy on America’s youths. An individual residing in Oregon who prefers to remain nameless, is a minor who was born male, but admits she knows that her soul was not. Her family is supportive, because “Love knows no gender or sexual preference.”
By Benjamin Johnson
Photo by Becky EnVérité – Flickr License
Photo by Justin Sloan – Flickr License