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?

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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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

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The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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