Remember how much hope with had back in 2019? Everyone was looking forward to this year because we got an entire month of 4/20 and Christmas is supposed to be on a Friday, if the world still exists by then. I was also hopeful and excited when I wrote this article in November of last year, profiling the efforts by our esteemed lawmakers to ban the unethical and harmful practice of conversion therapy in the state. Unfortunately, the bill didn’t pass the house and now our lawmakers are working diligently to fight for parents’ rights to force their children to “pray the gay away.”
Two conservative House Republicans are holding a study on the so-called practice of conversion therapy.
Last session, there was a bill that would have generally banned conversion therapy for children, but it stalled in the House. Some Republicans are now working on possible legislation supportive of conversion therapy.
On Tuesday, Oklahoma lawmakers heard from people who have gone through conversion therapy or practice it.
State Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland, said parents should be allowed to decide whether their children should go through it.
“There is a threat around the country to this freedom, and we want to stand for this freedom,” Olsen said. “Parents have the rights to train and to educate their children. They have the right to direct that.”
Conversion therapy is the scientifically discredited practice of using therapy to “convert” LGBTQ people to heterosexuality or traditional gender expectations.
So Representative Olsen believes people have the right to force their loved ones to go through a harmful, bullshit “therapeutic” practice that not only has zero scientific evidence to support that it can change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, but also can significantly increase the risk of self-harm and suicide among those forced to go through it.
I called a buddy interviewed Amelia Brewer, a licensed professional counselor in Oklahoma who specializes in LGBTQIA+ affirming care, and asked her thoughts on why conversion therapy is bullshit. Here’s what she said…
“There is mounting research in the field of science identifying the neurological and biological underpinnings of sexual orientation and gender identity. There are aspects of an individual that cannot be changed, therefore it can cause a great deal of harm to attempt to change them. One of the biggest impacts for maximizing wellbeing and life satisfaction in the LGBTQIA+ community is family acceptance and support. Affirming someone’s gender and orientation can be absolutely life saving!”
In case you need more reasons why Oklahoma should ban the practice of conversion therapy, here’s more from the KOCO article…
The American Medical Association said the practice isn’t based on medical or scientific evidence. Other leading medical groups say there’s no evidence it works and there is evidence it can be very harmful.
The group Freedom Oklahoma said the basis for the study is “nonsensical,” and Oklahomans for Equality criticized it for not including people who have been negatively impacted by the practice.
“When we think about what’s best for our youth, it’s telling our youth that they are perfect the way that they are, that they are born to be loved and that it’s our duty as responsible adults and responsible caregivers that we are to love them,” said Morgan Allen, center director to Oklahomans for Equality.
Medical and mental health professionals agree that conversion therapy isn’t therapy at all. I know I am going out on a limb here, but maybe our esteemed lawmakers didn’t have Oklahomans’ best interest at heart when they introduced this bill. With how harmful conversion therapy can be to Oklahoma’s youth, those adults who support the practice give new meaning to loving someone to death.