…comes this article from YahooNews which exposes the insidious effects that Christian-based gay prevention programs may have for teens and which also questions the professional validity of such programs.
A national gay and lesbian group is accusing several religious organizations of harming homosexual teens by offering parents what they say are bogus therapies to keep children from becoming gay.
The report said some Christian-based gay prevention and treatment groups have used the First Amendment protection of religion to avoid sanctions by state health officials seeking to enforce regulations on counselors who offer therapy without a license.
Since many SEB members are currently involved in a heated debate regarding counseling and licenses in this thread, I thought it might be interesting to bring this up. My personal belief is that such programs are abominable. I think that anyone has the right to have a sexual relationship with another willing adult of the same sex; whether or not the desire to do so is a choice, something that is inherently innate, or some combination of the two does not concern me in the least. It is well-known by most who know me that my opinion regarding conservative Christianity in general tends to be low, and I can say for certain that the reason for this is due in part to precisely this type of thing.
Perhaps it is one thing for fundamentalist Christians to have a problem with their own kid being gay, and quite another thing for them to attempt to eradicate homosexuality in general. I can certainly respect the difference between the two scenarios. All the same, the concept of gay prevention programs still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It is most certainly not easy for teenagers to come out as gay even in the most tolerant of households; it must be all the more wrenching a process when the household in which they were brought up was one of a stifling religious atmosphere that taught them that homosexuality was a horrible thing. Furthermore, I do not believe for a second that the concept of “reformed homosexuality” exists. Just because a gay teen may be “reformed” to the point of becoming a status quo conformist who plays the heterosexual game does not mean that his/her desires have been reformed. His/her true desires may have simply become deeply repressed, which could only result in further pain and confusion for the individual in question.
The article goes on to question whether or not the authorities should pay more attention to what is going on in such programs:
In a report released Thursday in Miami Beach, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute questioned whether the therapies are ethical or effective and said state and federal authorities should provide greater oversight when these programs are aimed at youth.
Again, since my personal opinion of these programs is that they are abominable and extremely harmful for teens, I would say that the authorities are overdue in investigating them.