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A Dangerous Form Of 'Therapy' That, Believe It Or Not, Is Legal In 48 States

And get this: Not only has the research been debunked and abandoned by its lead researcher, but the practice itself has been rejected by the every major mental health profession. So why's it still happening?

A Dangerous Form Of 'Therapy' That, Believe It Or Not, Is Legal In 48 States

WARNING: There is a graphic testimonial by a person who went through this so-called "therapy" from 1:40 to 2:25 and in the text below. If that might be triggering for you, I recommend skipping over it.

Conversion therapy claims to convert homosexual people to heterosexual people and transgender people to cisgender people.


Seriously.

We know that conversion therapy does not work.

And that makes what these so-called "therapists" put their "patients" through so much worse. For example...

Patients are forced to adhere to traditional gender roles.

For example, male patients are told to participate in manly things like sports (and beer drinking and farting contests, probably) and attend men's church group meetings and avoid activities that are super gay like going to museums or the opera or having sex with other men.

Male patients should also avoid women "unless it is for romantic contact." The patient is considered "cured" when he gets married (to a woman) and has children (with a woman).

Of course, this line of thinking totally ignores the difference between gender expression and sexual orientation:

And anyone who doesn't conform to strict, traditional gender roles is given the cold shoulder.

This. Is. Not. Real. Therapy.

Some patients are forced to endure painful sessions of physical aversion therapy.

TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic description of aversion therapy in the next three GIFs.

Unfortunately, aversion therapy *does* work. Kind of.

A hug could probably do a lot more good in this situation than ice blocks. Just sayin'.

To recap: "Ex-gay" or "conversion" therapy is basically torture and does not work. And yet...

It's still legal in 48 states.

Even though it's been rejected by pretty much every major body of mental health experts.

The American Psychological Association found that patients come out of conversion therapy with all sorts of psychological side effects:


And these are just the things I could fit on one gif.



My sarcasm detector is pinging off the charts right now.

It's not all bad news, though.

Exodus International, one of the leading proponents of conversion therapy, closed its doors in 2014 and issued an apology from their president for all the pain, suffering, and death that their "therapy" had caused (emphasis added):

"I am sorry for the pain and hurt that many of you have experienced. I am sorry some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt when your attractions didn't change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry I didn't stand up to people publicly 'on my side' who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him, I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.

More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God's rejection.

I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives."

But it's not enough for just one organization to shut down.

There are still organizations out there using these same horrifying methods in a futile attempt to "cure" something that can't be changed. There are still parents out there willing to subject their children to this — and people out there willing to subject themselves to it — because they're growing up in a society that tells them they're broken or wrong, but they're not.

Take it home, Laci:

The answer, of course, is zero more kids.

You can help end LGBTQ+ conversion therapy by signing this White House petition to enact Leelah's Law, named in honor of Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old trans girl who committed suicide in December 2014 after her parents pulled her out of school and forced her into conversion therapy.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

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Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

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Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

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All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.