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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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148 Responses

  1. Kaitlin
    Kaitlin August 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm |

    Holy crap, major trigger warning for ableist slur in the title of the piece linked. Why do you think it’s ok to call people you don’t agree with crazy? Like being crazy is a legitimate reason to dismiss everything someone is saying. I agree with the sentiment of the article but as a crazy person myself, I hate the phrase “religious nut”. If someone has legitimate religious delusions like in schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, they need help not ridicule and the fact that this phrase is still in common use shows the way we discredit people by saying they have a mental illness, because if you have a mental illness, you deserve to be ignored.

    1. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie August 21, 2013 at 1:28 pm |

      If only headline writers would post trigger warnings.

    2. moviemaedchen
      moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm |

      Word. I have a whole host of issues with the ‘let’s mock the fundies by calling them crazy’ approach, and the ableism inherent in it is WAY at the top of the list. There are plenty of more appropriate and less harmful ways of calling the fundies out on their bullshit; throwing people with mental illnesses under the bus is utterly unnecessary and wrong. I really wish the people who write the headlines for these things would get that.

    3. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve August 25, 2013 at 10:55 pm |

      I hate the phrase “religious nut”.

      I agree. I hate it when people call me a ‘music nut’ just because I’m really into music, so I can see why people who are really into religion would hate being called ‘religious nuts.’

  2. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin August 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm |

    Many people with whom I worship have come from punitive faith groups. They are usually the first to heavily scrutinize every decision Meeting leadership puts into place, often in ways that appear excessive and even ridiculous. The baggage they bring to the table is worth considering and respecting, but many times the bitterness and residual anger gets in the way of a new religious beginning.

    Certain religious groups shun their members if they break ranks. This is true with the Amish, to cite one example. If Amish kids reject the lifestyle and live like most of us do, their families cut all ties completely. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to strike out on your own, knowing you would never see your family ever again. Could we be that strong ourselves?

    Is that fair? Should this be legal? I’d consider this as much of an emotional blow as being forced to go through gay conversion therapy. Sometimes evangelical families who believe in the practice shun their children for being queer. I count as a friend someone who came out, was told to never speak to his parents again, and only made peace with his homophobic father shortly before the father’s death.

    1. Karak
      Karak August 21, 2013 at 5:22 pm |

      You can’t make people love you and want to be around you. I’ve thrown people out of my life because of their partners, the relationship they have with their children, their politics, and yes, their religion.

      You are required to make sure your child can function as an adult; you don’t have to then love them or talk to them.

    2. BabyRaptor
      BabyRaptor August 22, 2013 at 5:24 am |

      My family disowned me for refusing to repent of my “rebellious bisexual phase.”

      It wasn’t something I wanted to do, it was something they made me do. (moving on without my family, I mean.)

      You can’t force people to love and accept you. No law would be able to fix what happened to me, or prevent it in the first place.

      Abuse like gay “reparative” therapy, on the other hand? That can be stopped. It *should* be stopped.

      And, frankly, I’m of the opinion that parents do not have the “right” to brainwash their kids in only their religion. If we could do away with the idea that children are an extension of the parents’ possessions, and instead force people to treat their kids like actual living beings, this country would go a LONG way in repairing itself.

      1. elizabeth
        elizabeth August 23, 2013 at 2:55 am |

        Yes, please.

        I eventually had to disown my family after all the years of emotional abuse that followed up 25 years of all the other kinds of of abuse. Maybe there’s some wisdom in religious groups that disown their adult children instead of twisting the screws for years with emotionally abusive demands to pretend that all the other abuse never happened.

        If parents didn’t have the “right” to do the religious brainwashing, it would go a long way towards making it possible for us to function as adults and escape the horrific abuse of extremely patriarchal religious sects sooner.

        It’s one thing to raise your child in your religion and another thing entirely (the guardian article hesitates about calling a refusal to teach kids the basics abuse, but abuse is really the right word) to prevent your child from having a proper education so they can have a shot at establishing a life of their own once they reach adulthood.

        You had better believe that anyone who doesn’t want their kid to know rudimentary math is absolutely trying to trap them in an abusive situation–it might be different in other countries but in the US we don’t have a functional safety net and expect young adults to be cared for by their family well into adulthood. God forbid an 18 year old could try to get financial aide to go to college without their parents’ blessings.

  3. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune August 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm |

    Oh god, this kind of thing makes me so angry. I was homeschooled for various reasons (including geographical isolation and eventually mutually verbally unacknowledged disability), and my education itself was uniformly secular (though obviously I was being taught religious/cultural/philosophical stuff outside School Time). Many of the homeschoolers I know in India were homeschooled because the parents were highly qualified and had the time or because the child was cognitively disabled. Others were cases where the child was physically disabled but neurotypical, but was being shoved into special ed track (read: daycare with restraints) so accommodations wouldn’t have to be made. The rest were bullying victims. I was pretty horrified to find out that this wasn’t the breakdown of homeschoolers in the US at all, and there was this massive fundamentalist creepiness going on.

    I absolutely agree there’s a difference between the racist removal of children and expecting fundie fucknuts to not beat their children half to death. For one, what’s the overlap between creepy fundie homeschool Christian cults and POC? (Particularly black and Native POC, who suffer from this disproportionately?) I imagine it’s not that big. Gah.

    And I just can’t deal with the anti-vax anti-medicine crowd today gah fuck no.

    LOL at the people insisting they disagree with conversion therapy but don’t feel legally removing it is right. LOL, because the only other option is RAGE.

    1. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie August 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm |

      “fundie fucknuts”

      Easy to slip into this kind of speak.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune August 21, 2013 at 1:39 pm |

        Huh? IDGI…

        1. Donna L
          Donna L August 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm |

          I think the point is that the term is ableist.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune August 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm |

          Wait, the “nuts” doesn’t refer to balls?

        3. EG
          EG August 21, 2013 at 2:07 pm |

          I always thought they did.

        4. Librarygoose
          Librarygoose August 21, 2013 at 2:10 pm |

          I didn’t know that either. Shit. At least we still have douche bag.

        5. Kerandria
          Kerandria August 21, 2013 at 9:46 pm |

          Librarygoose – I think that douchenozzle, douchecanoe, douchewagon, jackhole, and assbag are all okay. If not, please correct me. WTB a wiki of ism-free insults.

          CN: rape, CSA, child abuse

          On homeschooled USian people: I was one of those abused homeschooled kids. I was taken out of public school after the second grade because the abuse and neglect I was suffering was becoming more and more obvious. I ended up being raised in a home that had all the hallmarks of a fundamentalist family sect but without explicit religion. I was kept at home, isolated as much as possible, poorly educated (no guided education after I was about twelve), not socialised, and expected to do the work of helping to educate and care for my three younger brothers, groomed by my father for my father. It’s really unfortunate that something that can be as special and positive as homeschooling was twisted into something so wretched.

          I feel a little uneasy about using the sort of things that happen in abusive fundamentalist religious households as a comparison for my own abuse. It feels appropriative to me, but I’m unsure how to quickly and clearly make my point otherwise.

          Mac – thanks for sharing your experiences with homeschooling from a non-USian perspective.

        6. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 10:03 pm |

          Kerandria, I have no words for how sorry I am that this happened to you.

        7. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 10:24 pm |

          @Kerandria:

          I am so, so sorry you went through that. For all that religious fundamentalists can be stunning examples of how children get treated abominably, it’s far from the only sort of abuse that happens. And it not being religiously-motivated doesn’t make it any more OK.

          FWIW: I’m not a victim of religious abuse (and if I’m off here in the view of anyone who is, please let me know – I’m sorry), but I don’t see anything terribly appropriative in talking about the abuse you suffered in a thread dedicated to the issue of child abuse. (After all, the fact that “conversion therapy” has links with religious fundamentalism and is promoted in those circles doesn’t mean that *only* the kids of fundie parents are hurt by it.)

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune August 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm |

          @Kerandria I am so sorry that happened to you. That’s heinous shit, right there. Hugs if you want ‘em.

          @moviemaedchen – it’s not appropriative at all IMO, speaking as a survivor of religious abuse. The two are so intertwined sometimes… I’ve never known someone who was a child while experiencing religious abuse to not have experienced other kinds of abuse as well.

        9. Kerandria
          Kerandria August 22, 2013 at 1:42 am |

          Radiant Sophia, Mac, and moviemaedchen — thank you. @Mac – I adore hugs of the jedi variety. Thanks to you and moviemaedchen for input on the potential appropriation issue. It’s important to me to not use the words of other (esp marginalised) people’s different than my oppressions and struggles to define my own.

          Mac, I’m so sorry that you were hurt that way.

        10. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 23, 2013 at 9:03 pm |

          @mac:

          thanks for your input. And echoing Kerandria, I’m so sorry you went through that shit.

      2. Barnacle Strumpet
        Barnacle Strumpet August 21, 2013 at 2:09 pm |

        I think “fucknuts” here is supposed to be playing off of the genitalia side of the slur, like “fuckstick” “fuckhead” etc…rather than the ableist aspect of the word “nut”.

        But I could be wrong. And if people are perceiving the ableist connotation rather than the genital-slur connotation, than it should still probably be filed under “do not use”.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune August 21, 2013 at 2:15 pm |

          …but if it is supposed to be the genitalia, how does having the same letters as an ableist slur make it off-limits?

          I mean, when i talk about owning a nutcracker, no one thinks I’m enslaving a white person with mental illnesses, I hope?

          (That said, urban dictionary seems to support the “idiot” version, so I’m probably going to stop it. I just find the idea that a letter combination makes the word off-limits despite the combination having multiple meanings objectionable in the abstract.)

        2. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 2:59 pm |

          @mac –

          I hear what you’re saying, and yeah, ruling out all words that have spelling in common with any form of slur doesn’t really fly. But I’d argue that context is important, particularly when dealing with slurs that have different possible references. ‘Nutcracker’ isn’t generally used in any context in which it would suggest ableism. But ‘fucknut’ – particularly in a thread set off by a definitely ableist use of the word ‘nut’ – is more ambiguous in meaning, partly because it’s *meant* to be a slur. And ableist slurs in particular come up in discussions of religious fuckery very often. So calling a religious fundie a fucknut can easily be ambiguous as to the reference – and people will hear ableism in it whether or not it’s meant. (I mean, I didn’t think you were deliberately using ‘nut’ in the ableist sense, but it took me a second to figure out what you *could* be meaning, since the ‘nut’ in the Guardian headline had primed me to read it as = crazy.)

          So yeah, I agree with Barnacle: probably not a slur to be tossing around in these particular sorts of contexts even if the ableist version isn’t meant.

        3. Barnacle Strumpet
          Barnacle Strumpet August 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm |

          …but if it is supposed to be the genitalia, how does having the same letters as an ableist slur make it off-limits?

          I couldn’t tell you, to be honest. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t be allowed to use it, or that it’s “off-limits” in some official or universal way. I should have made it more clear that I meant off-limits for me, by my own language-choice criteria.

          @moviemaedchen: I have heard “nutcracker” used ableistly before. But I don’t know that it’s common or anything; but maybe not a good idea to use as a metaphorical slur just in case…

        4. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 4:19 pm |

          @Barnacle:

          I hadn’t heard it used that way before, so thanks for letting me know. I’ve only ever encountered it in the literal, non-slur way, as the name for the things you crack walnuts with and which apparently have some sort of Christmas show about them, but I guess I can see how it could be used as a slur too.

        5. Kerandria
          Kerandria August 21, 2013 at 9:51 pm |

          In my home state (Maine, USA), I’ve heard nutcracker used as a misogynist slur. It was used to specifically describe ‘that loud/assertive/bit-y woman’.

          I don’t think I’ve heard it used in any other place I’ve lived, though.

      3. tinfoil hattie
        tinfoil hattie August 21, 2013 at 2:21 pm |

        I thought “fucknuts” meant “crazy” people. I’ve never heard of it as “balls.” Anyway, isn’t that a gendered slur, if that’s what it means?

        1. Donna L
          Donna L August 21, 2013 at 2:32 pm |

          Yes, I always thought it referred to “crazy” people myself. It never occurred to me that it had anything to do with genitals.

        2. EG
          EG August 21, 2013 at 2:45 pm |

          I don’t really have a problem with that kind of gendered slur. Particularly when it comes to testicles, which are largely portrayed positively in slang. I’m not worried that men are going to start feeling bad about their balls.

        3. Computer Soldier Porygon
          Computer Soldier Porygon August 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm |

          I always thought it meant, like, assholes.

        4. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan August 23, 2013 at 11:05 pm |

          “Fuck” like sex, yanno? “Nuts” like balls? “Fucknuts” sounds like testicles to me.

    2. Computer Soldier Porygon
      Computer Soldier Porygon August 21, 2013 at 9:58 pm |

      For one, what’s the overlap between creepy fundie homeschool Christian cults and POC? (Particularly black and Native POC, who suffer from this disproportionately?) I imagine it’s not that big. Gah.

      well, not exactly what you’re talking about, but for one thing, there is kind of an international adoption craze among white fundie homeschooling/quiverfull families

  4. celticdragonchick
    celticdragonchick August 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm |

    Off topic, but you still may want to see this latest bad [ableist slur redacted] from Rod Dreher over at The American Conservative…where letting intersexed kids in Germany decide who they for themselves is totally like being a Nazi. Or something.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/desire-uber-alles/

    Mockery here at Little Green Footballs.

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/42422_Rod_Dreher_Is_Jumping_The_Shark_Agai

  5. Miranda
    Miranda August 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm |

    I have a lot of thoughts, but for now I want to say that I’m just glad that issues of child abuse, esp. around other marginalizations, is coming up on this blog. Sometimes I think child abuse remains a dark dirty secret even in the feminist blogosphere–in fact, even in spaces that aren’t Capital F Feminist–and often when I see it written about, it’s from the perspective of activists, not survivors.

    1. moviemaedchen
      moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm |

      Yes, I hear you. It needs to be given real attention (I’m still sorting over my own thoughts on the topic before I post here about that). And hearing from survivors is important.

    2. Kerandria
      Kerandria August 21, 2013 at 10:10 pm |

      I completely agree that people that have been abused should have the right to define their abuse and to be able to write about it in spaces where the primary voices for people that have been abused are activists.

      You’re right — child abuse DOES live in the margins, so-to-speak. I think that a huge part of it is that if people acknowledge that child abuse really IS everywhere, they have to accept that a child they know/raise/otherwise care about/for could be hurt. In my own life, people being aware of (and doing nothing about) my abuse was due to the ‘not in my backyard’ mentality. Thinking about that — and about how many children (especially Otherised ones) are being abused under the many intersecting levels of kyriarchy — makes me so, so angry.

      Thank you for this, Miranda and moviemaedchen.

      1. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 11:17 pm |

        @Kerandria: Yes, it’s enraging, especially the NIMBYism and the sense of just being left to it, as if you aren’t worth protecting. It’s also one of those things with a broad enough range of manifestations that incidents and patterns of behavior that can cause real, lasting pain and confusion get the green light because they don’t always fit the accepted idea of what ‘abuse’ looks like, or ‘aren’t that bad.’ Which 1) can add to the harm, and 2) makes combatting them so much more difficult. I mean, I go back and forth over whether or not certain things, stemming from my family’s history with alcoholism, that influenced my childhood were technically ‘abusive’ or not, because I totally understand why X behaved the way she did after growing up with an alcoholic parent, and because it was never ‘that bad.’ But it hurt, and it still impacts my relationships and sense of myself.

        And if a little bit of emotional fuckery and issues about boundaries can cause me the sort of pain that it has, I can only imagine what sustained exposure to this sort of abusive fuckery masquerading as “therapy” over orientation can do to a person.

        1. Kerandria
          Kerandria August 22, 2013 at 2:16 am |

          because it was never ‘that bad.’

          Isn’t it scary how the abuse can get into your head? Not only are many of us taught to minimise our own feelings to avoid causing ‘a scene’, the teaching cranks it to eleven by saying that UNLESS we’re going through the Worst Worst Thing Ever, Eleventy!!1!, what we (metaphorical we) deal with ‘isn’t that bad’, and we can ‘just deal with it’, because bootstraps. And things.

        2. Miranda
          Miranda August 22, 2013 at 5:51 am |

          the teaching cranks it to eleven by saying that UNLESS we’re going through the Worst Worst Thing Ever, Eleventy!!1!, what we (metaphorical we) deal with ‘isn’t that bad’, and we can ‘just deal with it’, because bootstraps. And things.

          The single most empowering thing I ever did, re: child abuse in my life, was give myself permission to call it child abuse. So yes, absolutely yes, to everything you say.

          I’ve been really scratching my head for a long time on why I see so little about child abuse in the SJ blogosphere. Is it not a sexy enough topic? Is it still seen as too “dirty”? All I know is that, when I want to see a narrative that looks like mine and feel like I’m not alone in the world, I don’t go find a feminist blog. I go find an episode of Law and Order: SVU. Which is depressing and sad, but that’s about the best I’ve been able to find.

          I know that this is terribly cynical of me, but sometimes I wonder how much we’d even be hearing about Gay Conversion Therapy if it weren’t tied into an already well-established -ism (homophobia) in SJ circles. There’s an awful lot of incredibly fucked up and abusive shit masquerading as “children’s therapy” that isn’t talked about. I am recalling an article about forced electroshock therapy on a kid in a MA that basically amounted to torture. This isn’t a “what about the straightz” appeal, just an appeal to…how invisible a lot of child abuse really is.

        3. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 22, 2013 at 6:10 am |

          All I know is that, when I want to see a narrative that looks like mine and feel like I’m not alone in the world, I don’t go find a feminist blog. I go find an episode of Law and Order: SVU

          Oh my, Isn’t that true.

          I am recalling an article about forced electroshock therapy on a kid in a MA that basically amounted to torture.

          ECT is horrible.

        4. elizabeth
          elizabeth August 23, 2013 at 3:08 am |

          All I know is that, when I want to see a narrative that looks like mine and feel like I’m not alone in the world, I don’t go find a feminist blog. I go find an episode of Law and Order: SVU

          Yeah. Me too. But I still feel alone. SVU has never even come close, but I keep hoping. (And then I feel guilty for hoping.) Just so I won’t feel so alone and invisible.

        5. Kerandria
          Kerandria August 23, 2013 at 3:34 am |

          I go find an episode of Law and Order: SVU.

          Except that for many of us, there wasn’t an Olivia Benson to save us. :'(

        6. Kerandria
          Kerandria August 23, 2013 at 3:35 am |

          Ugh, comment got cut off!

          Re: SVU — I do it, too. I rage between ‘this shit is problematic on so many levels’ to ‘this speaks to me’ when it comes to L&O, SVU in particular.

  6. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm |

    I am not sure that this is such a good idea. I hate “conversion therapy”, but without this (fraud), I believe that more fundamentalist parents will be inclined to torture or kill their children if they find out or believe that their children are gay. Their bible certainly authorizes them doing so.

    1. EG
      EG August 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm |

      If we outlaw one kind of child abuse, abusers will turn to another. Sure, they’re abusive. That doesn’t mean we should let their preferred method of abuse be legal.

      1. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 4:32 pm |

        Bingo. Why grant them the veneer of legitimacy by allowing this particular brand of torture (and I’d argue that “conversion” therapy can amount to psychological torture) to be legal? The fact that abusers will be abusive assholes even if we deny them legal ways to abuse isn’t an argument to let the abuse be legal and let them do what they want. It’s just proof that they’re abusive assholes who need to be stopped. This is one more step towards preventing harm to those who are in danger of being abused.

        1. Matthew
          Matthew August 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

          +1

        2. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm |

          I’d argue that “conversion” therapy can amount to psychological torture

          No argument needed. That is exactly what it is, but in a lot of instances, I am sure it is now going to be replaced by physical torture and murder. I would hope that some smart people could come up with a better solution than simply outlawing “conversion therapy”, and leaving these children in homes where what was psychological torture turns into physical torture and death.

        3. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm |

          This is one more step towards preventing harm to those who are in danger of being abused

          Without removing these children from their homes, this isn’t going to prevent abuse. It’s going to escalate it.

        4. EG
          EG August 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm |

          I think you’re mistaken–do you have evidence? This isn’t the first state that has outlawed conversion therapy. I strongly suspect that conversion therapy does not replace physical abuse; instead, I suspect that it accompanies it.

        5. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 5:06 pm |

          @ Sophia:

          maybe I’m misreading you, but I don’t see how banning this form of “therapy” would prevent anyone from also working towards getting kids out of dangerous homes. As I see it, this isn’t a “ban conversion therapy OR get kids out of really dangerous homes,” it’s “ban conversion therapy or do nothing to help these kids.” Sure, it’s not the end-all and be-all, but it’s a step.

          Also, I want to point out (maybe you meant this to be a given, but I wasn’t sure) that not all homes where kids might be sent to this sort of “therapy” will necessarily turn physically violent. Sure, there may be some, and those assholes need to be dealt with. But I could see plenty of parents sending their kids to be ‘made straight’ – even out of deeply twisted and harmful but consciously well-meant motivations to help their kids avoid the negative consequences for being gay that they see them as facing, both socially and in religious terms* – who wouldn’t turn violent or murderous with this avenue closed off. Precisely because they’d see themselves as good non-violent people who really truly only want the best for their kids, and the psychological violence they’re doing to their kids doesn’t register as violence to them. Partly because psychological violence often doesn’t get taken seriously as violence anyway, and partly because they can’t conceive of their (again, deeply harmful but not consciously maliciously meant) approach as violent in the first place, because that’s not what they do, in their minds. So for some of these kids, banning conversion therapy is a measurable good for them, because this is precisely the sort of harm they are most likely to face from their parents, the kind that can be spun as “for your own good, because I love you.”

          *Their intent obviously isn’t magic and doesn’t justify what they do or erase the harm it does. I’m just drawing a distinction between the “gays are abominations who must be destroyed” type of fundies and those who think “love the sinner, hate the sin.” A lot of really harmful, abusive stuff gets perpetrated by people who consciously think of themselves, and sincerely mean it, as ‘only trying to help you,’ and lumping them in with the consciously hateful makes it more difficult, IMHO, to really create lasting change.

        6. Matthew
          Matthew August 21, 2013 at 5:06 pm |

          Victims of conversion therapy have been physically and psychologically abused, and sometimes murdered.

        7. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 5:10 pm |

          Also: what EG said. Those homes likely to turn physically abusively probably already are. And the kids need to be out of there anyway. Whether or not a law against conversion therapy gets passed isn’t going to make a whole bunch of not-inclined-to-physical-violence abusers turn physically violent. It’s not going to stop them from being physically abusive, no, but it *will* help those kids in homes where the abuse isn’t physical and isn’t recognized as hurtful at all because it’s done (ick) “because I love you”.

        8. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 5:24 pm |

          Whether or not a law against conversion therapy gets passed isn’t going to make a whole bunch of not-inclined-to-physical-violence abusers turn physically violent

          That is what I disagree with. These parents are motivated by a religion that idolizes violence. They may “love the sinner, hate the sin”, especially when it is their own child, and try what they see as “non-violent” ways to “correct their child’s behavior”. If that fails, or if those options are taken away, they WILL turn physically violent. They even say that “it’s for your own good”.

        9. EG
          EG August 21, 2013 at 5:30 pm |

          If that fails, or if those options are taken away, they WILL turn physically violent. They even say that “it’s for your own good”.

          Of course they say that. And they’ll also turn violent when the conversion therapy doesn’t work. Or simply as an accompaniment. But that doesn’t mean that conversion therapy, which is torturous fraud, should be legal. It is harmful and it is fraud.

        10. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 5:44 pm |

          they’ll also turn violent when the conversion therapy doesn’t work

          It never works. It is a fraud. However, it is preferable to being physically beaten, and “correctively raped”.

        11. Kerandria
          Kerandria August 21, 2013 at 10:18 pm |

          CN: child abuse, rape.

          It never works. It is a fraud. However, it is preferable to being physically beaten, and “correctively raped”.

          Why does it have to be one or the other? Also, am I reading that you are saying that psychological abuse and trauma is preferable to physical (non-sexual) or sexual abuse?

        12. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 11:09 pm |

          Also, am I reading that you are saying that psychological abuse and trauma is preferable to physical (non-sexual) or sexual abuse?

          Sorry, I really didn’t mean to say that, and I can totally understand how you would get that from what I wrote. What I meant to imply/say, is that the abuse that they will get at home from parents trying to “cure the gay” will be far worse in scope, whatever the form, than what happens in “corrective therapy”.

        13. Brennan
          Brennan August 21, 2013 at 11:52 pm |

          Whether or not a law against conversion therapy gets passed isn’t going to make a whole bunch of not-inclined-to-physical-violence abusers turn physically violent

          That is what I disagree with. These parents are motivated by a religion that idolizes violence. They may “love the sinner, hate the sin”, especially when it is their own child, and try what they see as “non-violent” ways to “correct their child’s behavior”. If that fails, or if those options are taken away, they WILL turn physically violent. They even say that “it’s for your own good”.

          That’s a lot of generalization, and I don’t think it’s particularly useful. There’s no one way that any family (or even any fundamentalist religious family) reacts to their child coming out, just like there’s no one way for a kid to come out. There’s a tendency to cast all gay kids in fundie families as helpless victims in need of rescue/protection/enlightenment from us, the forward-thinking liberals. We think first about “the kids hiding their hearts from their fathers’ fists,” as Andrea Gibson so eloquently put it. No one is denying that those families exist, but they do not make up all of the families seeking anti-gay therapy, and I highly doubt they’re a majority. I’m uncomfortable with the narrative because it erases the kids’ agency. I’m exceptionally uncomfortable with accepting that narrative and extrapolating it to mean that we should allow abuse to happen in psychologists’ offices in the hope that it won’t be “as bad” as what might happen at home.

          Many, many gay kids have loving parents who would never intentionally hurt them, but who happen to be immersed in a homophobic culture. Yes, the parents chose that culture. Yes, they’re there because it aligns well with their own bigotry. They still love their kids. They still want what’s best for their kids. They’re being told over and over again that being gay is The Worst Thing that could possibly happen to their kids. They’re facing ostracism from their communities. Then, along come some smiling people in suits with letters after their names and shiny business cards. They assure the frightened parents that everything can still be okay, their kid just needs help. The parent trusts them. After all, these are therapists. A little therapy never hurt anyone, right?

          Should the parents have known better? Obviously. Did they ignore a whole lot of warning signs? Well, yeah. But, in this situation, it’s the therapist, not the parent, who is abusing the child. And at the end of the day, it’s not the parent who is going to pay the price for their lapse in judgment–it’s the kids. I’m not okay with that, and society shouldn’t be either.

        14. Hugh
          Hugh August 22, 2013 at 3:13 am |

          Given that conversion therapy often involves administration of emetics and other drugs, it’s not necessarily limited to psychological torture, either.

        15. elizabeth
          elizabeth August 23, 2013 at 3:26 am |

          That is exactly what it is, but in a lot of instances, I am sure it is now going to be replaced by physical torture and murder.

          I’m guessing you weren’t raised by religious fundamentalists.

          I strongly suspect that conversion therapy does not replace physical abuse; instead, I suspect that it accompanies it.

          Bingo.

          the abuse that they will get at home from parents trying to “cure the gay” will be far worse in scope, whatever the form, than what happens in “corrective therapy”.

          The fundamentalist circles I was raised in put high value on thriftiness. In my experience, many fundamentalists will try violence first and only shell out for the therapy if the violence doesn’t take.

          As an adult recovering from child abuse, I find that one of the things that bothers me quite a lot is no one trying to help. I have a catalog in my head of all the times people knew there was a problem and didn’t try to intervene. It upsets me a lot. Any time I see legislation like this that takes positive steps to protect children from abuse, I feel better.

          I think that even if the law doesn’t directly help people, it still provides a psychological benefit to survivors who aren’t directly helped by it. At the very least, it legitimizes their experience and helps them feel less invisible. Beyond that, it lets survivors fantasize that maybe future kids in their situation won’t be victimized in the same way.

        16. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 23, 2013 at 4:10 am |

          I’m guessing you weren’t raised by religious fundamentalists.

          I was, actually. Purity culture obsessed Christian fundamentalists.

          In my experience, many fundamentalists will try violence first and only shell out for the therapy if the violence doesn’t take.

          I have honestly never considered my experiences in this manner. I haven’t spoken to my family in over a decade, so I cant get any information from them. I just thought that I got to old to hit.

    2. Miranda
      Miranda August 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm |

      I am not sure that this is such a good idea. I hate “conversion therapy”, but without this (fraud), I believe that more fundamentalist parents will be inclined to torture or kill their children if they find out or believe that their children are gay.

      Yeah, I can’t speak to abuse that’s specifically tied into sexual orientation, but I’m pretty sure a child abuser’s willingness to use physical force is more complicated than whether or not there are other, non-physical “torture” outlets. I find the suggestion that it’s that simple really offensive, actually. But I could be completely off base.

      1. Radiant Sophia
        Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 5:16 pm |

        Miranda, I am sorry I offended you. I really didn’t mean to. In my experience religious fundamentalists who turn to abuse to control their child’s sexuality do not turn to physical abuse until that proves unsuccessful. Nothing short of removing them from their homes is going to prevent that abuse.

    3. igglanova
      igglanova August 21, 2013 at 5:07 pm |

      Making conversion therapy illegal weakens the institutions that provide said ‘therapy.’ It does not solve the problem of child abuse, but this is a battle that must be fought on multiple fronts.

      1. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm |

        THIS, exactly. It’s not the solution to all homophobic or religiously-motivated abuse. What it IS is one piece of a larger effort.

    4. snorkellingfish
      snorkellingfish August 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm |

      I feel like letting people label it “therapy” gives it a veneer of legitimacy that other forms of abuse might not have. I can imagine homophobic parents pushing their kids into conversion therapy (especially if it’s encouraged by their church) without truly appreciating how harmful it is to their children. So many homophobes believe that this shit is what’s best for their kids especially when its name makes it seem less harmful than it is. Banning it might make them think twice and save their kids from these lessons in self hate.

      (Or maybe I’m naive about how much some people hate us. I don’t know. I just suspect that not all parents who subject their children to conversion therapy are out to kill gay people even if those people are their children. At least I hope that’s the case.)

      1. Radiant Sophia
        Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm |

        Banning it might make them think twice and save their kids from these lessons in self hate.

        It won’t. Religious fundamentalist will have no problem physically “correcting” their children when deprived of a seemingly legitimate “treatment” for them. Nothing short of removing the children will prevent abuse.

        1. igglanova
          igglanova August 21, 2013 at 5:42 pm |

          I guess I don’t really understand your point. Do you think we shouldn’t outlaw conversion therapy?

        2. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 5:48 pm |

          igglanova, I don’t have any answers. I honestly do not know how to go about removing these children from their abusive households. I do know that, for the homes to which this applies, things are going to get worse before they get better.

        3. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 7:13 pm |

          Well, legislative acts such as banning conversion “therapy” also put structures in place within the functions of the state that can provide support for further efforts to remove children from dangerous homes. Creating a completely comprehensive solution to the problem in all its aspects and fitting it all into one bill would be impossible, much less getting such a thing passed. But getting these pieces into place that enable the state to 1) recognize something as abusive and 2) provide support for legal structures for intervening into the lives of kids where necessary will help.

          I share igglanova’s bafflement. Certainly this is not a perfect solution – I don’t think anyone here is under the impression that it is. But should we let that keep us from recognizing the limited good that this can do? Should we not do it just because it doesn’t magically solve the situation of every kid in these circumstances ever? Or are you arguing that any possible good it could do is totally outweighed by possible harm?

        4. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm |

          Or are you arguing that any possible good it could do is totally outweighed by possible harm?

          I don’t know. I do know that this will push fundamentalists that would have turned to this “therapy” to instead do far worse things to children that are gay or that they suspect of being gay.

        5. Barnacle Strumpet
          Barnacle Strumpet August 21, 2013 at 7:45 pm |

          Or are you arguing that any possible good it could do is totally outweighed by possible harm?

          While I support the outlawing of conversion therapy, I can understand Sophia’s concern. Fundamentalists and their ilk are very good at getting away with abuse, and they hide it under the guise of “religious freedom”. They are skilled at isolating people and keeping them ignorant and unable to seek help. Even if Sophia is wrong about the end balance, I think it’s a valid question to raise.

          This reminds me of the arguments over completely illegalizing female genital mutilation. I recall some feminists thought it was best to keep a more minor version of FGM legal because of the fear that illegalizing it completely would result in home surgeries that were more severe. It’s a similar argument about keeping an abominable practice legal for fear of even more abominable practices resulting.

          I would like to think that the good of outlawing conversion therapy outweighs the bad. I don’t have experience growing up in a fundamentalist family or community though, so I have no estimation for how common it would be for parents to escalate violence against their gay children if gay conversion therapy is outlawed.

          To be honest, I always had the impression gay conversion therapy was more of a mild-to-moderate fundie thing. The extreme fundies seem more likely to start out with an exorcism or a “beat the gay demons out” thing rather than send their kid to a counselor, however dubious. A lot of them don’t want their kids away from their influence at all.

        6. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 8:03 pm |

          Let me be very clear. I believe this “therapy” is a sham. It is dangerous, and it does not work. In the best circumstance it teaches someone to be afraid of any sexual contact.
          I also think that even mild-to-moderate fundamentalists, who would otherwise send their gay children (or their children that they believe to be gay) to these “therapists” will instead commit other, worse, abuses on their children. Their religion commands them to. Any abuse the children suffer, including rape or death, is, in their mind, preferable to an eternity in hell for the “sin” of being gay.

        7. shfree
          shfree August 21, 2013 at 8:27 pm |

          Sophia, you are forgetting the third party in the “conversion therapy”, the therapist doing the “conversion”. I damn well think they deserve some consequences for getting people to believe that they can “convert the gay away”. So even if the parent is just completely clueless and doesn’t understand how Gay Works but only wants the best for their child, damn straight someone should be held accountable, and that should be the fucking therapist.

        8. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 8:35 pm |

          shfree, ABSOLUTELY!

          It’s not just that it doesn’t work. It’s that most of these “therapists” KNOW that it doesn’t work. They are not believers, they are in it to make money.

        9. Donna L
          Donna L August 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm |

          Let’s remember that outlawing this in New Jersey — where the population sending their children for so-called conversion therapy does not primarily consist of the kind of “religious fundamentalists” most people think of when that term is used — isn’t going to prevent any parent who wants to do this from very simply going across the Hudson to New York, or, if further south or west, over to Pennsylvania. So it isn’t going to leave anybody without an alternative, or push them into violence if they weren’t already engaging in it.

          It’s more of a symbolic statement that “we don’t want this in New Jersey.” And that’s a good thing.

        10. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 10:57 pm |

          @Barnacle:

          yeah, it’s a valid issue to raise perhaps, but I think approaching it from too-narrow a view of who would be sending their kids and why has problematic results. And physically torturing your kids is already illegal and grounds for the state to step in. There are non-regulated comparable practices, as was brought up below, but the answer to those is more, not less, legislative action and official attention. It’s not as far as I can tell a direct one-to-one between those practices and outlawing CT either, since this is only, what, the second state to outlaw it?

          I guess I don’t see where leaving it as legal actually helps get kids out of abusive situations or prevent harm to them, since I don’t see any strict objective hierarchy of ‘less bad’ between psychological and physical violence. And I do see situations where making it illegal can have positive results, far from a comprehensive solution though it may be.

        11. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 11:08 pm |

          @Donna: Yeah, I see what you mean. However, hopefully outlawing it will signal to at least some parents that it’s not actually any sort of legitimate medical practice and make them think twice about it. And as it gets (hopefully) outlawed in more places it will start to have the impact I think it will on less-fundie and non-religiously-motivated parents and save those kids some amount of harm.

        12. Willemina
          Willemina August 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm |

          Donna L: Let’s remember that outlawing this in New Jersey — where the population sending their children for so-called conversion therapy does not primarily consist of the kind of “religious fundamentalists” most people think of when that term is used

          I think I know what you mean, but my mind instantly moved past that to imagine bible-thumpers with sick abs, fake tans, and frosted tips.

    5. Alara Rogers
      Alara Rogers August 21, 2013 at 9:28 pm |

      The thing is that physical violence and torture are already illegal and if a person is identified as doing that to their kids, their kids will be taken from them.

      “Gay conversion therapy” masquerades as a legitimate medical treatment. You cannot have your children taken from you for subjecting them to a “legitimate” medical treatment. And everyone in the world will tell you that child abuse is wrong and people who beat and torture their children are bad, but if what you were subjected to was a “medical” treatment, the psychological harm of believing you deserved it or that it was appropriate treatment and you were really “ill” is possibly more damaging to many people than getting a beating would have been.

      Besides, we cannot say “We can’t prevent evil people from torturing their kids so let’s give them a mild form of torture they can commit!” No. The goal is to prevent evil people from torturing their kids. And we already have imperfect, but existing, means of protecting kids from beatings, rape and murder. We cannot refuse to protect kids from medical abuse because the alternative is that the parents *might* move on to rape, beatings and murder; for one thing, the fact that those things are illegal and widely condemned, whereas medical “therapy” is not, means that many, many parents who would have thought it was perfectly appropriate to subject their kids to medical “conversion therapy” will not consider it appropriate to beat them instead (and many parents who thought it was ok to beat their kids did it anyway, conversion therapy or no.)

      We can’t pat ourselves on the back for a job well done and abandon those kids, no. But claiming that we cannot forbid a practice that is dangerous and harmful for children and does them no good whatsoever because their parents might do something worse otherwise is kind of like giving in to terrorism. No. Forbid the practice, *and* continue to look for signs that children are being abused and remove them from homes if they are.

      Conversion therapy reinforces the notion that being gay is a medical condition that can be cured and/or a choice that can be reversed, which allows many people who were homobigots air cover for their beliefs and a sense of legitimacy. Take away that legitimacy and many people lose one of the supports they were propping their homophobia on.

      1. Radiant Sophia
        Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 9:56 pm |

        We cannot refuse to protect kids from medical abuse because the alternative is that the parents *might* move on to rape, beatings and murder;

        Not might, will. Without other protections, this will happen.

        many, many parents who would have thought it was perfectly appropriate to subject their kids to medical “conversion therapy” will not consider it appropriate to beat them instead

        Given the commands of fundamentalism, I disagree with this.

        Otherwise, yeah, I agree with everything else.

        1. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 10:15 pm |

          Not everybody who might send their kids to “conversion therapy” is necessarily a religious fundamentalist. In a context where this bullshit was legal as a form of supposed therapy, I could easily see someone like a certain (politically liberal, not at all fundamentalist) relative of mine, only with a little less understanding of and support for LGB/queer people, considering sending their kid to a counselor to ‘encourage them to be straight’ so as to avoid the consequences of living in a homophobic society, for instance. Truly wanting to help the kid avoid all that pain, and completely not understanding the pain caused by this bullshit “therapy.” Because they see that it’s legal, it’s discussed as a form of therapy, and that gives it legitimacy in their eyes as something morally OK and not harmful, as well as something that supports the notion that’s it’s all a lifestyle choice, etc.

          There’s a range of potential reasons a parent might see for sending their kids to such a “therapist,” ranging from consciously homophobic religious fundamentalism through to unconscious bias, lack of understanding, and completely messed-up but sincerely meant ideas of the child’s best interest that have little to nothing to do with religion. None of those reasons make it OK, but they do impact the range of tactics that need to be deployed in order to combat this and similar forms of abuse. And it’s just that – one in a *range* of tactics. Thinking about this as solely the province of those nasty fundies fails to consider the situation of a lot of other people, and makes working against this less effective

          Plus, as Alara points out and I pointed out below, this gives the state the ability to step in into these families where they couldn’t before.

        2. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 11:03 pm |

          moviemaedchen,

          I have never heard of anyone being subjected to this “therapy” other than for religious or social conservativism (which in the U.S. is basically religious) reasons.

        3. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 11:31 pm |

          Anecdata isn’t the same as solid evidence, though. I’m not denying that religious fundamentalism isn’t a big part of it. I’m questioning the idea that that is definitely the *only* thing going on, that those are the *only* kids at risk, and the idea that since religiously-abusive assholes are going to be religiously-abusive assholes anyway then we should abandon any other kind of kid who might possibly benefit from shutting down this avenue of potential abuse. Not to mention the comparison already made above about giving in to terrorism – if we throw up our hands and say ‘well, it’s not going to completely solve the problem so it’s not worth doing at all,’ not only does the problem not get solved, but you also grant the abusers legitimacy and space to go on abusing any way they like.

          Plus, again: putting into place a piece of legislation whereby the state recognizes the abusive potential in certain often-religiously-motivated practices and therefore has legal grounds and a legal mechanism to intervene in situations where religion can become abusive is one more thing that can help make it easier to get kids out of those homes. I don’t get how that piece is apparently not clear.

          Indeed, I’d argue that it’s a necessary step, because if the state doesn’t recognize as anything with thinnest veneer of religious justification as potentially abusive, then it has no motive or means to intervene in situations where the abuse is religiously motivated. Outlawing this practice is going to make the fundies scream about religious infringement, yes – because they see the potential that is really there for the state to stop giving religion a completely free pass and start looking more closely at exactly what happens to these kids.

        4. shfree
          shfree August 22, 2013 at 12:56 am |

          Look at it this way, Sophia. A gay child couldn’t be removed from their mentally abusive, torturous fundy household where they were being forcibly “converted” by a therapist until someone raised a hand, fist, or implement and beat them. Now, they have a little more protection. How is that bad?

        5. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 22, 2013 at 6:15 am |

          shfree, that, I can get behind.

        6. William
          William August 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm |

          Anecdata isn’t the same as solid evidence, though. I’m not denying that religious fundamentalism isn’t a big part of it. I’m questioning the idea that that is definitely the *only* thing going on, that those are the *only* kids at risk, and the idea that since religiously-abusive assholes are going to be religiously-abusive assholes anyway then we should abandon any other kind of kid who might possibly benefit from shutting down this avenue of potential abuse.

          The American Psychological Association has already declared the practice unethical. Its well known throughout the industry that the practice doesn’t work and causes real damage to people subjected to it. At no point in my career have I encountered anyone who offered conversion therapy who was not explicitly motivated by religion, offering their services to co-religionists for religious reasons. This cancer is the distinct province of the religious right. No licensed professional would go anywhere near it, and no one would offer a referral, if it weren’t for the religious aspect.

          This is the direct and sole result of the toxic influence of Christianity upon our culture. It is the children of these religious extremists who are at risk of suffering this practice. “Conversion therapy” has zero traction outside of the churches.

        7. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 22, 2013 at 11:35 pm |

          Congratulations, William, you’ve just directly erased the experiences of two survivors of such abuse on this very thread, as well as the experiences of everyone else whose story doesn’t fit the “fundies and only fundies” box.

        8. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 23, 2013 at 11:30 am |

          moviemaedchen, I think William is saying that those offering this therapy are fundamentalists (which I disagree with). I’m not sure how that “directly erased the experiences of two survivors of such abuse on this very thread”.

          William, I am going to have to completely disagree. I’ve met a few of these “therapists”. The thing they all had in common was that they were charlatans. They knew that the “therapy” they were offering wasn’t real, and didn’t work. They are snake oil salesmen offering false hope to people whose convictions wont allow them to accept homosexuality.

        9. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 23, 2013 at 1:12 pm |

          @Sophia:

          William said:

          It is the children of these religious extremists who are at risk of suffering this practice. “Conversion therapy” has zero traction outside of the churches.

          The argument is that only the children of religious extremists are at risk of being sent to this “therapy,” and that it “has no traction” outside churches – i.e. nobody who’s not a fundamentalist will be inclined to send their kids.

          The commenters below (Douglas, Jen, and now Lara) who discuss their experiences with this practice explicitly state that their parents were NOT religious fundamentalists and had their own reasons for sending them. Disproving William’s argument. An argument he made after two of the three people had already discussed their experiences. Completely ignoring them and stating an argument that, in order to be true, would have to mean that they either are lying, are utterly mistaken about basic facts of their own lives, or don’t exist.

          Yeah, that’s erasing.

          Just like (as a comparison for illustrative purposes) the argument that the only people who have same-sex relationships are gay men and lesbians erases bi/pan people. The argument that “only people in X category do Y” has as its logical implication “and therefore people in any other category don’t do Y.” This is the argument made in both cases, and it both cases it erases the people who are NOT in X category and who DO do Y. Children of parents who are not religious fundamentalists but who are forced to go to conversion “therapy” by them DO EXIST. On this very thread.

        10. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 23, 2013 at 7:07 pm |

          moviemaedchen, I think that makes more sense. The bulk of William’s comment is about the “therapists”. (according to William) the religious extremists are the “therapists”. So I think I was confused by that line.

        11. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 23, 2013 at 9:06 pm |

          @Sophia:

          Gotcha.

          (And I’m sorry if I’ve come down hard on you in this thread. It’s sort of triggered some stuff for me before I realized what was going on there.)

        12. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia August 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm |

          moviemaedchen, don’t worry about it. It is very emotional (and personal) for many of us, and that is bound to cause strong responses. Your responses show how important this is to you.

      2. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen August 21, 2013 at 10:00 pm |

        The thing is that physical violence and torture are already illegal and if a person is identified as doing that to their kids, their kids will be taken from them.

        “Gay conversion therapy” masquerades as a legitimate medical treatment. You cannot have your children taken from you for subjecting them to a “legitimate” medical treatment. And everyone in the world will tell you that child abuse is wrong and people who beat and torture their children are bad, but if what you were subjected to was a “medical” treatment, the psychological harm of believing you deserved it or that it was appropriate treatment and you were really “ill” is possibly more damaging to many people than getting a beating would have been.

        […]

        the fact that those things are illegal and widely condemned, whereas medical “therapy” is not, means that many, many parents who would have thought it was perfectly appropriate to subject their kids to medical “conversion therapy” will not consider it appropriate to beat them instead (and many parents who thought it was ok to beat their kids did it anyway, conversion therapy or no.)

        […]

        Conversion therapy reinforces the notion that being gay is a medical condition that can be cured and/or a choice that can be reversed, which allows many people who were homobigots air cover for their beliefs and a sense of legitimacy. Take away that legitimacy and many people lose one of the supports they were propping their homophobia on.

        All of this. Exactly.

      3. Kerandria
        Kerandria August 21, 2013 at 10:24 pm |

        Beautifully put, Alara.

      4. tinfoil hattie
        tinfoil hattie August 23, 2013 at 10:55 am |

        “The thing is that physical violence and torture are already illegal and if a person is identified as doing that to their kids, their kids will be taken from them.”

        Ha. That’s what you think.

    6. Lara Emily Foley
      Lara Emily Foley August 22, 2013 at 2:20 am |

      I agree with what everyone else is saying. I’d love to see your data that says allowing this is a necessary evil because hey it’s better than torture and death

      1. Radiant Sophia
        Radiant Sophia August 22, 2013 at 2:25 am |

        I never said that. I said “I am not sure…”. How does that = allowing this? If you read above, how many times do I say “I don’t have an answer”? Expressing doubt does not equal allowing this as a necessary evil.

      2. Radiant Sophia
        Radiant Sophia August 22, 2013 at 2:36 am |

        Sorry, that response was angry and impulsive, but I do think what I originally said is being misconstrued. I’m sorry about my combative response.

    7. Ms. Kristen J.
      Ms. Kristen J. August 22, 2013 at 3:30 am |

      If such a law does nothing else it will tell the survivors of religious child abuse that what they suffered was wrong. Some children believe the abuse is their fault and carry that with the into adulthood. I know I did and do. One of the reasons I tend to get incoherently angry about this topic is when I hear people say that parents have a fundamental right to control how their children are raised, I hear that I didn’t have a right to medical care or to be free from other forms of physical and psychological abuse. If nothing else, this law tells the survivors of conversion therapy that their parents were wrong, that they deserved better.

      1. Radiant Sophia
        Radiant Sophia August 22, 2013 at 3:58 am |

        Ms. Kristen J., you have every right to get incoherently angry. What happened wasn’t your fault, but I know it can take a long time, and a lot of pain to figure that out. I’m still trying to come to terms with it.

      2. Miranda
        Miranda August 22, 2013 at 5:54 am |

        If nothing else, this law tells the survivors of conversion therapy that their parents were wrong, that they deserved better.

        +1

      3. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen August 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm |

        This.

  7. Ann R
    Ann R August 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm |

    I rarely comment here but this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I have seen, first hand, the deep dark nasty side of fundamental Christianity, aka “fundies”. It has more deep dark secrets than many who have never been on the “inside” can even fathom. Child abuse is rampant and accepted as being good and the norm. The idea that religious freedom comes before the right of a child to bodily autonomy and the right to not suffer from abuse is mind boggling.

    Gay conversion therapy should absolutely positively be outlawed, but it does concern me that not enough will be done to stop programs that are many times “off the grid” from existing and continuing to inflict abuse. There are many IFB group homes that exist without any sort of state registration or oversight and force parents to sign over parental rights to them in order to “cure” their kids from all sorts of perceived evils. Hephzibah House, New Beginnings, etc. ( WARNING: I would not even recommend googling those unless you are prepared to deal with some very disturbing stories of extreme abuse, etc.) I worry these houses of horror will become the go to places to send those to be “cured” from homosexuality but will be able to fly under the radar since they’re not advertising themselves as conversion therapy.

    There is a website called Stufffundieslike that is a great resource for anyone interested in learning about the group homes that I spoke about above. I would advise anyone who goes to the site to tread cautiously as there the whole site pretty much needs a trigger warning for everything. However, (especially in the forums) there are many people who have came together who have escaped fundamentalism, who escaped the horrors of the group homes, some who are passionate about outing abusers in places of authority in the IFB, etc.

    1. Radiant Sophia
      Radiant Sophia August 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm |

      The homes you mention here are usually FAR worse than most “conversion therapy”. Probably due to a lack of any form of regulation.

  8. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon August 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm |

    I’m not going to read this because I have hella growing-up-pente issues and even the blurb made me feel panicky but it sickens me, the shit people are allowed to get away with doing to children in the name of religious freedom.

  9. Vanessa
    Vanessa August 22, 2013 at 7:43 am |

    this country has such a disgusting history of ignoring the rights of children, and feminists have been no less guilty of it than everybody else. i wrote about the booik childism here but i would actually suggest that you all go and read it. seriously. like right now.

    1. Femme Ménage
      Femme Ménage August 22, 2013 at 11:40 am |

      I’m agree with you Vanessa.

    2. Niall
      Niall August 22, 2013 at 2:32 pm |

      Total agreement there. In fact, I would say it’s not just the U.S and nor is it limited to feminists, but progressives generally. Although it doesn’t really surprise me, it never ceases to anger me that when it comes to domestic violence / violence against women, consensus is practically unanimous. But a lot of these same commenters seem to think that spanking hitting children is just fine and dandy in some situations.

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong August 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm |

        It’s absurdly problematic to conflate spanking with child abuse. If you think smacking a misbehaving two-year-old on the butt is a bad way to raise a kid, fine. If you think it’s comparable to beatings, sexual violence, deprivation of food, etc., you can go fuck yourself.

        1. amblingalong
          amblingalong August 22, 2013 at 2:44 pm |

          Also: introducing a debate over spanking into a thread on sustained psychological/emotional/physical violence directed towards gay children is incredibly fucking obnoxious.

        2. Niall
          Niall August 22, 2013 at 2:50 pm |

          It’s absurdly problematic to conflate spanking with child abuse. If you think smacking a misbehaving two-year-old on the butt is a bad way to raise a kid, fine. If you think it’s comparable to beatings, sexual violence, deprivation of food, etc., you can go fuck yourself.

          If you think hitting a TWO YEAR OLD – a toddler – who is too young to really understand the difference between right and wrong isn’t problematic, then fuck you.

          you can go fuck yourself.

          Take your own advice, asshole.

          Hitting. Kids. Is. NEVER. Acceptable. End of argument.

        3. Niall
          Niall August 22, 2013 at 3:00 pm |

          Also: introducing a debate over spanking into a thread on sustained psychological/emotional/physical violence directed towards gay children is incredibly fucking obnoxious.

          And just when the hell did I say or imply that this should be a debate about spanking? I made a comment about something I’ve seen here and in other progressives spaces, from people who really ought to know better, that pisses me off.

          If that’s what passes for “debate” in your mind then you really don’t have a clue.

        4. tinfoil hattie
          tinfoil hattie August 23, 2013 at 10:58 am |

          Niall is right, and if you think “conversion therapy” parents aren’t “spanking” (e.g., assault upon ANY OTHER PERSON) their children for behaving in ways that are proscribed to the “wrong” gender, you’ve got your head in the sand. So yeah, it’s relevant.

      2. Donna L
        Donna L August 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm |

        Niall, what you’re trying to do is change the subject. Stop acting like you have no idea of what amblingalong is saying. You sound like the people who derail every single thread about FGM here, ever, by insisting on making it all about infant male circumcision.

        1. Niall
          Niall August 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm |

          Duly noted, Donna.

          I’ll end it here.

      3. TMK
        TMK August 23, 2013 at 3:59 am |

        But a lot of these same commenters seem to think that spanking hitting children is just fine and dandy in some situations.

        And it took whole 9 minutes for such commenter to pop up.

        1. amblingalong
          amblingalong August 23, 2013 at 9:12 am |

          Uh, I don’t know if that’s a reference to me, but that’s definitely not the position I took.

  10. DouglasG
    DouglasG August 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm |

    Hands up anybody else besides myself who actually was put into conversion therapy (against my will, though I don’t want that to be taken as a point against young people who happen to be coerced into “agreeing” to it; it can be very easy for a skilled parent or guardian to turn not wanting to be on the receiving end of hate and prejudice into not wanting to be gay).

    For now, I shall content myself with saying most emphatically that my parents, although undoubtedly conservative, were NOT religious fundamentalists. They were pragmatists. My father, who had made me an accessory to adultery by using weekend outings as cover for affairs, knew that homosexuality wouldn’t go down well in the corporate sector with which he was familiar, and, from his point of view, getting rid of it was on the same sort of scale as cosmetic surgery to correct or diminish a physical characteristic that might cause discomfort in others. I don’t say that to excuse my parents at all; that’s just what happened to be their version of, “This is for your own good.” The generous interpretation of their attitude is that it starts with not wanting a child to be the target of prejudice, and the brakes that usually apply before it escalates to forcing the child into conversion therapy somehow don’t kick in at any of various points. The less generous interpretation is that such parents fit the many colourful and uncomplimentary terms set out above by Ms Kitsune in her inimitable way. I tend towards the less generous interpretation as a rule.

    I know that I did have the thought more than once during the course of the so-called therapy that their just having had me murdered might have been preferable all around. Obviously, others have had different experiences. Emerging victorious, as it were, has been a bizarre source of some pride for me since.

    I’ll write more about the present and future later after a bit of thought, but I need to end this post here. I hope I haven’t been offensive.

    1. moviemaedchen
      moviemaedchen August 22, 2013 at 1:52 pm |

      Thanks for giving us your perspective, Douglas. I’m sorry your parents put you through that – the stuff parents do to kids can be awful. And the reasoning behind it doesn’t make any of it ok.

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune August 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm |

      I think you should be proud. I know I’m proud of having survived certain things, and of not drinking certain Kool-Aids. I’m not sure I could have handled conversion therapy (though, ironically, my family dynamic, fucked up though it is sometimes, kind of breaks every “rule” they have for what “causes” Teh Ghey) at all. It’s pretty impressive that you did.

      1. GallingGalla
        GallingGalla August 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm |

        Seconded.

    3. Matthew
      Matthew August 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm |

      Thanks for sharing Douglas; co-signing that you should definitely be proud – it’s terrible what you had to suffer.

    4. Jen in Ohio
      Jen in Ohio August 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm |

      Hands up anybody else besides myself who actually was put into conversion therapy

      My mother tried, with a considerable amount of help from the State of Florida, to put me through both “reparative therapy” as well as use the juvenile criminal justice system to threaten me into heterosexuality, but I ran my teenage ass off. Those horrific places where national news outlets have recently been reporting about how they’re digging up bodies now? When the therapy wasn’t going the way my mother wanted, that’s where they were going to send me, for the crime of “sexual deviance”. I wound up a homeless teenager on the streets of Miami trying to avoid being locked up, legally, for being gay.

      For now, I shall content myself with saying most emphatically that my parents, although undoubtedly conservative, were NOT religious fundamentalists.

      My mother wasn’t religious at all. She wasn’t very conservative either.

      DouglasG, thank you for your post, and congratulations for surviving. I consider it a personal victory as well.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune August 22, 2013 at 6:13 pm |

        Holy shit, JiO. That was several hundred kinds of not okay. I’m so sorry you went through that. Hugs if you want ‘em.

      2. Radiant Sophia
        Radiant Sophia August 22, 2013 at 6:27 pm |

        Jen and Douglas, thank you for having the bravery to share your stories. I know it can be emotionally difficult.

      3. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen August 22, 2013 at 7:25 pm |

        Jen, echoing mac and Sophia here. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and I am so sorry you went through all of that. All kinds of not OK for them to do that to you.

      4. Donna L
        Donna L August 22, 2013 at 8:06 pm |

        Douglas and Jen, thank you for sharing your stories. I am so sorry for what your parents did to you. As the parent of a gay son, who came out to me when he was 12, I can’t even imagine doing that to a child. Or a child being able to forgive it.

        1. DouglasG
          DouglasG August 23, 2013 at 9:06 am |

          Donna, almost every time you write about your son, I think of Mansfield Park, a discussion about young ladies who are or aren’t “out” (very different meaning at the time!) and the compliment Tom Bertram pays Mary Crawford:

          MC: “…I do not pretend to set people right, but I do see that they are often wrong.”
          TB: “Those who are showing the world what female manners should be are doing a great deal to set things right.”

          Substitute “parental conduct” for “female manners” and, as far as the limitations of the internet allow, you strike me as being similarly exemplary. Sometimes it can make a strong positive difference to a bad spell to see an example of one young same-sexer and devoted parent so well blessed in each other.

      5. DouglasG
        DouglasG August 23, 2013 at 8:47 am |

        Wow, the law as well? I am so glad you got through it all.

        In my time, it fit right in with other things. I was forced in a decade before a bare-bones basic gay rights bill died in our state legislature on a tied vote and took four more years to get through. But now? With so many of the, “But you’ll be Xed!” or, “You’ll never be able to W!”s gone or going, it really makes the hatred stand out more clearly as they run out of reasonable-sounding excuses.

      6. tinfoil hattie
        tinfoil hattie August 23, 2013 at 11:01 am |

        I’m sorry, Jen in Ohio. That abuse is ugly and shameful. Good for you for fighting a horrible set of circumstances. It fucking sucks.

    5. Kerandria
      Kerandria August 23, 2013 at 3:29 am |

      Jen and Douglas, thank you for sharing your personal histories. I’m so sorry that those awful things happened to you. Hugs if you want them.

      1. Jen in Ohio
        Jen in Ohio August 23, 2013 at 6:40 am |

        I appreciate the responses and support very much, thank you.

        All of this happened in the 80s, it should feel like the distant past, and mostly it does, but once in a while stories like this will gas up the PTSD so yesterday afternoon was mostly lost to shaking and crying. And making plum tartlets. Because tartlets.

        You younger folks of the GLBTQ, please know that we fought like we did in part for you. We were trying to survive, absolutely, but we all used to talk about how important fighting as a movement was because of what we had been through as children, and we didn’t want it to be so bad for the next batch and the next one after that. Every time I see a modern queer kid react to the concept of the closet like it’s a cassette player or a pet rock, I’m like, FUCK YEAH.

    6. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie August 23, 2013 at 10:59 am |

      Making you an accessory to his adultery = child abuse. I’m really sorry for ALL your experiences along these lines.

      1. tinfoil hattie
        tinfoil hattie August 23, 2013 at 11:03 am |

        Added: Douglas, I just want to point out that IN ADDITION to all the HORRIBLE things you were forced to go through, the insidious kinds of abuse are sometimes hardest for us to see. I’m so sorry. I read stories like yours and Jens and countless others’, and I want to go back in time and grab all of you up and hug you and tell you that you are PERFECT as you are.

  11. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley August 23, 2013 at 4:36 am |

    To people saying it’s all religious it’s not

    I had a brief (non religious) encounter with this sort of concept. When I was 15 (I’m 28 now) I first came out as trans (they also found out about a harmless sexual kink I had) to my parents. I was sent to a psychologist who had me put on medication for intrusive thoughts ( I was already on ritalin and sleeping pills too… fun times) . For 4 years (until I got up the nerve to start dealing with being trans again at 19) my parents tried to medicate the trans (and kink) out of me.They claimed once they came around to accepting me as their daughter that the medication was just for the kink but I don’t believe it. I also didn’t dare talk about my sexual orientation (which was super influx at the time) to them until maybe 5 years ago?

    So yeah not just religious people. I’m just lucky they came around.

    1. Jen in Ohio
      Jen in Ohio August 23, 2013 at 6:21 am |

      Lara, I’m so sorry they put you through that, and I’m glad they eventually came around.

    2. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie August 23, 2013 at 11:06 am |

      Lara, I’m sorry. “Medicate away the gay” (or trans, or “wrongly-gendered” behavior) is as horrific as any other approaches to trying to eradicate any normal behavior or feeling. As a parent, I just can’t imagine seeing my children as other than who they are, and loving them fiercely. I want to go back in time and hug you, too. (with permission of course!)

      1. Donna L
        Donna L August 23, 2013 at 11:59 am |

        Let’s not forget that none of these laws even purport to prohibit or regulate “trans conversion therapy,” which is alive and well everywhere (at least in the USA and Canada), as a way of trying to force gender-nonconforming children into “normativity.” And is, sometimes explicitly, based on the theory that “it’s better to be gay than trans.” (See the writings of people like Blanchard and Zucker, etc.)

        1. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 23, 2013 at 12:56 pm |

          Yes – thanks for bringing that up, Donna. There’s still far to go.

        2. Lara Emily Foley
          Lara Emily Foley August 23, 2013 at 9:40 pm |

          Oh god Zucker. Fun fact Zucker is a gate keeper in Ontario (where I was born and raised) on who gets provincial coverage for reassignment surgery. By the time my parents came around and I was doing through the channels to get my surgery date. The therapist that I was mandated to see told me incredible horror stories about Zucker and CAMH (the institute you have to go through to get provincial) they alone hold the power to approve your reassignment or send you away. She told me once that they denied coverage to someone because they didn’t approve of the name she picked for herself so they said nope you aren’t really trans.

          To boot going through Zucker and CAMH would have added 15 months minimum to my transition.

          A little back story: From 19-23 had a unofficial don’t ask don’t tell agreement with my parents, I also systematically distanced myself from my entire family in case they rejected me when they found out (that way if they did I’d have been used to not having them in my life. I’m actually pretty sure this is what helped my parents come around, they saw it was love me or lose me). At 24 I decided I was going to be Lara 24/7, I told my parents but didn’t make any move for hormones or surgery. A year later I got By the time I got the nerve to properly sit down with my parents and be like look this is me I’m doing this (the whole process) and I need your help, I was 25. Within a few months of therapy I had my surgery booked for a year to the date I first saw my therapist (this was only because of the rules that she had to talk to me for 12 months). Had I gone through Zucker I’d have had to wait at least 27 months and would have had no guarantee of approval anyway.

          I am so grateful that I was privileged enough to have my parents pay and avoid that awful man. Doesn’t make up for what they did but I;m still fortunate.

          But yeah that’s why Zucker. He’s an old bigot who doesn’t really give a shit about trans folk.

        3. Lara Emily Foley
          Lara Emily Foley August 23, 2013 at 9:40 pm |

          er that’s why Zucker’s terrifying.

        4. Lara Emily Foley
          Lara Emily Foley August 23, 2013 at 9:42 pm |

          I am just so glad I was able to avoid ever meeting that man,

  12. BroadBlogs
    BroadBlogs September 4, 2013 at 6:16 pm |

    My ethics are guided by whether or not harm is done. I can’t see how any harm is done from being gay. But I can see how a lot of harm comes from these dangerous “therapeutic” methods.

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