Skip to main content

Why is Texas GOP backing gay conversion therapy?

By Melody Moezzi
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014
The Rev. Tony Larsen and his partner, Craig Matheus, are refused a marriage license by Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen, right, in the clerk's office in Racine, Wisconsin, on Friday, June 13. The county does not grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a judge's ruling that the state ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The Rev. Tony Larsen and his partner, Craig Matheus, are refused a marriage license by Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen, right, in the clerk's office in Racine, Wisconsin, on Friday, June 13. The county does not grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a judge's ruling that the state ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
HIDE CAPTION
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Texas GOP endorsed "reparative therapy" to convert gays to straight orientation
  • Melody Moezzi says such therapy isn't recognized by legitimate science
  • She says two states have banned the therapy for minors
  • Moezzi: Young Republicans are going to be repelled by such decisions

Editor's note: Melody Moezzi is a writer, activist, attorney and award-winning author. Her latest book, "Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life," will be available in paperback July 1. Follow her on Twitter @MelodyMoezzi. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- Apparently working under the impression that they understand the science of sexuality better than the World Health Organization or the American Medical or Psychological or Psychiatric associations, Texas Republicans made a bold statement last weekend.

With zero debate, they adopted a party platform that includes support for a widely discredited form of mental health "treatment" known as "reparative therapy." Also called "conversion therapy," this dangerous pseudo-medical practice aimed at transforming homosexuals into heterosexuals has been widely demonstrated to be both ineffective and harmful, not to mention offensive.

The clearly misguided assumption underlying such therapy is the belief (often reinforced by self-serving interpretations of any number of religious texts) that homosexuality is a disease. However, much like drapetomania (the pseudo-scientific "disease" an enterprising white man conveniently identified in the mid-19th century was described as the condition that led black slaves to attempt escape), homosexuality is in fact not an illness, but rather a fact of human nature. And rejecting human nature can have devastating effects on the psyche, demonstrating that if there is a real disease that needs fixing here, it's homophobia, not homosexuality.

Melody Moezzi
Melody Moezzi

Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth experience significantly increased risk for suicide than their heterosexual peers. In fact, as cited by the Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization that provides LGBT youth with crisis intervention and suicide prevention services, LGB youth are four times more likely than their heterosexual peers to attempt suicide, and their attempts are four to six times more likely to result in injuries that require medical attention. Moreover, LGB youth from highly unsupportive families (like the kinds that would be drawn to conversion therapy) are more than eight times more likely to have attempted suicide as those from more accepting and supportive households.

Recognizing this, both New Jersey and California have banned conversion therapy for minors, and other states are considering similar initiatives.

State rep defends gay conversion therapy
Texas GOP backs 'reparative therapy'

By explicitly supporting such pseudo-therapy, the Texas Republican party has done more than simply turn a blind eye to science and the potentially deadly consequences of the negative attitudes and self-hatred that such "treatments" reinforce. It has reminded us just how out of touch the Texas GOP can be—not only regarding modern medicine, but also with respect to the future of their own party.

According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of Republicans under 30 support same-sex marriage. That's only 1 percentage point less than that of Democrats over the age of 65 who support it. In short, the dinosaurs behind embarrassing and discriminatory platforms like this are guaranteeing their own extinction by clinging onto closed-minded convictions that are clearly on the way out.

But there is hope. As it turns out, some of the most seemingly anti-gay individuals are in fact responding to an internalized homophobia in conflict with their own homosexuality. Keeping this and the aforementioned statistics in mind, I propose that Texas Republicans step into the 21st century by adopting a different kind of conversion therapy—namely, one that replaces fear and bigotry with knowledge, acceptance and respect.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Carlos Moreno says atheists, a sizable fraction of Americans, deserve representation in Congress.
updated 12:25 PM EDT, Sun August 31, 2014
Julian Zelizer says Democrats and unions have a long history of mutual support that's on the decline. But in a time of income inequality they need each other more than ever
updated 12:23 AM EDT, Sun August 31, 2014
William McRaven
Peter Bergen says Admiral William McRaven leaves the military with a legacy of strategic thinking about special operations
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Leon Aron says the U.S. and Europe can help get Russia out of Ukraine by helping Ukraine win its just war, sharing defense technologies and intelligence
updated 1:24 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Timothy Stanley the report on widespread child abuse in a British town reveals an institutional betrayal by police, social services and politicians. Negligent officials must face justice
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say a new video of an American suicide bomber shows how Turkey's militant networks are key to jihadists' movement into Syria and Iraq. Turkey must stem the flow
updated 11:54 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Whitney Barkley says many for-profit colleges deceive students, charge exorbitant tuitions and make false promises
updated 10:34 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Mark O'Mara says the time has come to decide whether we really want police empowered to shoot those they believe are 'fleeing felons'
updated 10:32 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Bill Frelick says a tool of rights workers is 'naming and shaming,' ensuring accountability for human rights crimes in conflicts. But what if wrongdoers know no shame?
updated 10:43 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Jay Parini says, no, a little girl shouldn't fire an Uzi, but none of should have easy access to guns: The Second Amendment was not written to give us such a 'right,' no matter what the NRA says
updated 1:22 PM EDT, Sat August 30, 2014
Terra Ziporyn Snider says many adolescents suffer chronic sleep deprivation, which can indeed lead to safety problems. Would starting school an hour later be so wrong?
updated 9:30 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Peggy Drexler says after all the celebrity divorces, it's tempting to ask the question. But there are still considerable benefits to getting hitched
updated 2:49 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
updated 6:42 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
updated 7:35 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
updated 3:19 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
updated 3:50 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
updated 5:04 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
updated 5:45 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT