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Penn lawmakers propose conversion therapy ban

by Breonnah Colon - Copy Editor
Tue, Jan 31st 2017 12:10 am
Photo taken from Dr. Jill Stein on Twitter.com
Photo taken from Dr. Jill Stein on Twitter.com

 


Sexual orientation has been at the forefront of social issues over the past couple of years. Apparently it's so important who you have sex with and how, there must be legal action put into place to dictate whether or  not people who are not involved in your sex life agree with and can accept your personal preferences. 

For many years, the law has sided with the vast majority of those unable to comprehend that sexual orientation is not as easily dissected as they would like it to be nor does it revolve around what they would want it to be limited to. 

Often times this has lead to the ostracization of people who did not fit into the societal expectation of sexuality or gender identity and in some severe cases there were medical procedures put into place in order to attempt to "heal" what was once considered a psychological issue - not being straight.

Conversion therapy or reparative therapy is a range of practices which were carried out by doctor and spiritual leaders in the attempt to make individuals who did not identify as heterosexual or identify with the sex they were born with do so.  

According to livescience.com conversion therapy is not a mainstream medical practice and as a result "there are no professional guideines or standards for how it is conducted." Some procedures included electroshock therapy or medicating patients with nausea inducing drugs while showing pictures of same-sex erotica. 

Up until 1973 such practices were considered acceptable because homosexuality was considered a mental health issue. However, the American Psychological Association discredited homosexuality as an illness and it is currently considered a "normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation" by the APA. 

Since the retraction of the diagnosis of not being straight as an illness, the APA has urged medical practitioners to also discredit alternative sexual orientation as an issue to be treated. Many medical practitioners and everyday citizens agreed with this decision because conversion therapy has long been considered unethical and detrimental to the mental health of patients, particularly minors forced or coerced into accepting such procedures.

States such as California, Illinois and New Jersey have all taken steps to protect minors from being offered conversion therapy as a way to deal with their sexual orientation. However, there are those who just simply cannot accept the idea that you cannot make people conform to your personal biases and there are medical practitioners who continue to offer the procedures explained hrc.org. 

So what's all the hubbub? 

Well, we live in a society which for a very long time has mistreated and shunned individuals for not conforming to the idea that there are simply two genders and that people are only allowed to interact socially, romantically and sexually with the opposite gender of themselves. 

As much as some people would pay with their own life to make such a belief true it simply is not. 

That would be fine if people could just accept that they have differences in beliefs, however, there are actual laws which are impacting people's lives. At the end of the day no child, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity should be subjected to mistreatment psychologically, physically, mentally or emotionally it's just not right. With no federal law put into place states decide on their own whether or not to address and protect victims of this issue.

All hope is not lost though. 

With more accepting generations comes a more accepting society, which results in voting for laws and politicians which work to protect the rights and overall well being of all individuals regardless of gender or sexual orientation. The latest example of this would be the state of Pennsylvania working to completely ban conversion therapy statewide.

According to a Huffington Post article, Pennsylvania state representative Brian Sims, the state's first openly gay elected official met with Pennsylvania Mayor Jim Kenney and Dr. Gail Edelsohn the president-elect of the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society to propose the bill. 

The article explained Sims' statement that banning conversion therapy was "an issue of respecting medicine and science, and it's an issue of recognizing that this is child abuse, not treatment." The aforementioned article went on to state that he believes such a notion should be agreed upon regardless of political perspective.

In the end it all comes down to the idea of letting one be who one is and if we think that way then it doesn't quite matter what peoples sexual preferences or identities are, it matters whether or not they are good people. That's the important thing right?

 

bcolo1@brockport.edu