As SB 1172, a California bill to protect children from the harms of ex-gay therapy, continues to advance, those who defend the junk science are responding more and more desperately. PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays) is a fringe group that claims to advocate for the rights of avowed ex-gays, asserting that those who have repressed their sexual orientation are victimized by LGBT activists — they are victims, but for a very different reason. The group wrote to Sen. Ted Lieu (D) last week, attacking him for sponsoring a bill that “smacks of fascism and ex-gay bashing” and harms children:
Sponsoring legislation endorsed by the gay lobby to ensure that children only receive gay-affirming therapy is an act of childhood endangerment and an unconstitutional attempt to deny parental rights everywhere, but especially for parents in California and those in your Torrance district. Your bill will turn California into a nanny state by usurping the civil rights of parents who support their child’s right to receive therapy for unwanted same-sex attractions, especially when that child has been sexually molested. This smacks of fascism and ex-gay bashing. [...]
You endanger youth by denying their right to receive therapeutic help, promoting homosexual behavior to sexually confused youth, and conveniently ignoring the facts about the psychological and physical health risks of sodomy. By your comments, it appears you lack credible knowledge about changeable sexual preference and that you have obtained biased information without consulting the ex-gay community.
PFOX goes on to cite a CDC study about the high rates of HIV transmission among men who have sex with men, asking Lieu, “Why do you want to prevent youth from receiving counseling for unwanted same-sex attractions when those attractions can kill them?”
No doubt, the greatest danger to children is when their identities — their very lives — are not only stigmatized by their families, but forcibly rejected through these outlandish “therapies” that have no basis in psychological research. Family rejection has significant consequences for LGBT youth, including poor academic performance, depression and substance abuse, and homelessness. In fact, LGBT youth who struggle to come out at school or home are more likely to contract HIV. PFOX may object to affirmation of gay, lesbian, and bisexual identities, but the American Academy of Pediatricians has called for such affirmation for decades, because it is in the best interest of children’s mental health. Parents have no “civil right” to subject their children to the abuse of ex-gay therapy.
A Change.org petition is rallying support for Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to sign the bill should it pass the Assembly and Senate, which it seems poised to do by the end of this month. The first of its kind, this anti-ex-gay therapy bill would revolutionize the dignity LGBT people have in society by protecting young people from harmful stigma.