“Quacks: ‘Conversion Therapists,’ the Anti-LGBT Right, and the Demonization of Homosexuality” is a powerful, accurate, and compelling account of the history of conversion therapy and the need to shut it down before it harms another generation of LGBT people. Many thanks to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for publishing this report.
The report centers around the successful lawsuit the SPLC brought against the conversion therapy group JONAH. They represented former JONAH participants suing to regain the money they spent on JONAH’s fraudulent claims to make them straight. The stories of what they went through at JONAH are incredibly heart-breaking. While the SPLC lawsuit is the anchor for the report, it also presented a very accurate overview of conversion therapy’s roots in history and how it manifests today.
Back in my Exodus leadership days, this kind of report would have caused incredible anxiety as I tried to do my best, phone call after phone call, email after email, conversation after conversation, to defend and protect Exodus. If this had happened back then, I would probably end up with a migraine somewhere in the first few days of this report as I would try to force fit this brutally honest expose into the accepted ex-gay narrative and ideology.
Now that I have no reason to fear the truth and have reconciled my faith and sexuality, I feel anger, guilt and grief. Anger because of being personally duped by some of the folks in the report. Guilt for not seeing what was so obvious sooner, and then when the red flags were going up and it was becoming obvious, grief for not speaking out against that whole dynamic sooner and stronger. I realize there is grace, but feelings are feelings and those are what I felt while reading the report. That said, I am also thankful. Thankful that the truth is being put out there, being documented, and that conversion therapy (in all its manifestations) is dwindling and will soon cease to exist.
I recommend this resource to you because, simply, it’s shining a necessary light onto a very dark practice. Many people, families and faith communities are thoroughly convinced conversion therapy is genuinely compassionate and helpful. In many faith communities, conversion therapy/groups, are the only option presented to LGBT people of faith. As a former “true believer” I know this to be the case. This abuse must, and will, end. LGBT people of faith deserve the same opportunities and access to resources in their faith communities as anyone else. It is my prayer that we will no longer allow ourselves to be turned into test subjects for abusive theories and counselors. That we will no longer be hidden away in a separate support group seeking to fix what isn’t broken. The church needs us for who we are and how we are created. We need the church to embrace us just as God has.
If interested, you can download the PDF of the report by clicking here.