Lawmaker wants Oklahoma youth to pray the gay away…

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.

Find an Oklahoma-based LGBTQIA+ affirming therapist here. Then follow Hayley on twitter @squirrellygeek

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28 Responses

  1. We need a bill to pray the ignorance away. That would solve a lot of problems.

    1. Pray away ignorance? That sounds like trying to lift yourself by your bootstraps.

      Some people believe in literal miracles, things that are impossible in the real world that are brought about by God’s suspension of his own laws. I do not – because there is no evidence at all for such things.

      And the evidence shows that a conversion from gay to straight would be a literal miracle. That’s why “conversion therapy” is usually, if not always, religious-based.

  2. Go ahead and pray for all the good you think it’ll do you but VOTE people, VOTE!

  3. There’s long been this huge debate about homosexuality: is it a choice, or are people born that way?

    The way I figure it, it seems to be 50-50.

    About half of gay people are born gay. The other half just sorta get sucked into it.

    [sound of crickets chirping]

    I’ll see myself out now.

    DISCLAIMER: no homosexuals were harmed in the telling of this alleged joke, and all applicable laws were complied with.

    1. I didn’t get your joke at first.

      True story: I asked my devout Baptist buddy: “When did you choose to be straight?” His jaw dropped, and he said, “Uh, I was born this way.” That kinda ended our discussion.

      1. Seriously doubt this story.
        You don’t seem like the kind of person who has buddies.
        Especially if you treat them that way.
        If it is true, how did you feel when you made your “buddy” feel embarrassed or bad?
        Did you feel satisfaction when you “ended the conversation “ with your cleverness?

        1. My story is an inconvenient truth – for you. He and I have been friends for 40 years.

          He didn’t seem embarrassed. It was like the light came on. We’re sill good friends.

          I see why you can’t understand this.

          1. I just treat my friends differently I guess.
            You and I rarely agree but that’s ok.
            Sometimes we do.

            It’s ok to disagree – it doesn’t make you the devil nor i.

            You’re my fellow American and that’s good enough for me.

            1. Dude I think you’re on the wrong website.

  4. What a putz! A few things come to mind:
    1. I doubt the rep has had any children who were gay or trans etc… because parents who have generally don’t feel this way. We learn to know better.
    2. I also highly doubt that the rep has any clue about the fallacy of the “buy-bull” lines he is relying upon for his authority.
    3. there is absolutely, positively NO peer-reviewed and supported medical or psychological nacking for this regimen. In fact, those respective communities are “again’ it”.

    I doubt he’ll return the call but I made sure to contact his office as pissed off as I was about this. The nice lady calmed me down but I’m still mad. These f’ers have no clue what they’re doing and how damaging it is.

    1. “What they’re doing” is proclaiming their allegiance to the stupidity that fuels the faithful. Sounds like a potential state question — to drag the state’s happy, hating Christians to the polls.

      1. If there is to be a state question, I trust the voters to do the right thing much more than I trust the Legislature. The voters gave us Medicaid expansion, medical cannabis, and criminal justice reform among other good things, with the Legislature dragged along kicking and screaming.

  5. Typical idiot GOP legislator.

  6. Get his motel room in Moore ready! Ralph Jr.!!!

    1. Sounds like another GOP legislator has something to hide.

      1. When someone is focused on fighting or “curing” homosexuality, that’s very likely.

      2. yeah, he wants to hide his sausage.

  7. Olsen blocked me on Facebook, and I’ve gotten nowhere getting the block removed, despite federal court rulings that politicians aren’t allowed to block their critics.

    I really don’t want to have to go the lawsuit route.

    1. That’s really funny!
      I heard an 8th grade girl present the same argument.
      I’m assuming you are kidding.
      Facebook block – oh no!!!
      Please confirm you are an adult and this is satire.

  8. This should work just fine from the privacy of his own basement without any need for contact with actual children. After all, God is everywhere.

  9. I never understood why it is anyone else’s business what goes on in another person’s bedroom, whether its parents, pastors, teachers, political leaders or otherwise. Same as why anyone who reads my comment will automatically judge what I said and lump me in a political or sexual oriented group.
    People need to tend to their own business. Ideally, I should be free to live as I choose, without interference from an outsider saying what I choose is incorrect. As long as I am not harming anyone else, forcing myself on someone, etc, leave me alone.
    For a political party to choose to waste our tax dollars trying to pass a law that tries to push their perceived correct sexual orientation on someone is totally wrong. But maybe it’s just as well, because the LGBTQIA+ community and those who feel this is just wrong will combat this with their votes. This stupidity won’t go away by itself.

  10. What you do in the privacy of your home with consenting adults is none of my business – please stop throwing it in my face and trying to make it my business
    Really – I don’t.
    It’s boring and pedestrian and trite to hear about it all the time.
    Please be more interesting.

    1. There are lots of sites that might interest you more. Why do you. hang out here?

    2. Do you say the same thing for any straight people who happen to mention their relationship status to you? Just curious.

  11. One thing I will give outgoing Rep Jason Dunnington credit for is his *opposition* to conversion therapy. I believe it was his bill to ban it that was shot down in the House, like most Democratic-led legislation.

  12. In the interest of fairness I’d like to give an update on Rep. Olsen from Roland and his “pray the gay away bill”.

    I challenged the Representative to call me and explain his authority over some child’s sexual identity. To his credit he actually called me back. Given that I am not even a constituent I was impressed with his frank and open demeanor. But that wasn’t all.

    According to Olsen the bill would only leave open the option of such therapy if agreed upon by both child and parents. Such a bill I will accede to – not because I agree with the whole idea overall BUT because parents cannot force a child to do so. I do understand the coercive means parents may use to leverage such permission, but that’s no different than the child will encounter throughout society if he or she lives in that same community etc.. . Someone resolute in their views will not be forced and that was my primary concern.

    As for the therapy itself – I still think it is bullshit. However I am not a christian and I don’t choose to lead my life as such so I cannot relate to that experience. He is reflecting the views of his community and my disagreement with that is moot. He was very cordial and professional and I appreciated his candor.

  13. So i guess if the other religions want to have circumcisions performed on their daughters.. that its perfectly fine if the parents want it to happen.. Child marriages? Let’s go full religious freedoms..

  14. You let this one little bill go through and – “THE FLOODGATES WILL OPEN.” or “IT’S A SLIPPERY SLOPE ALL THE WAY TO HELL” or “THE GAYS WILL WIN!!!!”. Pardon;I lost track there of my train of thought.

    Next thing you know, Sister Mary Elizabeth will be back in the classroom, ruler rapping the knuckles of any child with the temerity to *audible gasp* write with their LEFT hand. “THAT’S THE DEVIL’S HANDIWORK”.

    You “legislators” want something to do? Rewrite the state constitution to eliminate either the house or senate. Wipe out 90% of the school Superintendents. Fund education and health care. Do something instead of posturing (exposing yourself) about religion/god/jesus/. You know, practice a little actual Christianity or as I call it; common sense.

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