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Monday, October 2, 2023


Texas Republicans look to reparative therapy as “cure” for homosexuality

Francis Emelogu  |  The Daily Cougar

Francis Emelogu | The Daily Cougar

At the Republican State Convention this month, delegates approved a party platform that included their stance on issues such as immigration and border security, the Common Core education standards, the Voting Rights Act and federal climate change initiatives.

These principles will influence the party’s voting decisions on significant issues this year. As this is a state gubernatorial election year, the party’s stance on these issues will be important.

One particular stance that has been brought to the media’s forefront is the party’s stance on homosexuality. This stance was in accordance with the party ideals of both traditional Judeo-Christian family values and state sovereignty, and it echoed previous years’ platforms — with the controversial addition of the mention of “reparative therapy.”

An article by BBC News cited the Temporary Platform Committee Report’s section on homosexuality as having stated that homosexuality is not “an acceptable alternative lifestyle” and there shouldn’t be any “special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state or origin.”

“Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values,” the report said. “We recognize the legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy.”

What has been termed “reparative therapy” or “conversion therapy” is the use of psychiatric treatment with the aim of changing an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. It can utilize techniques such as aversion treatment using electric shock therapy and nausea-inducing drugs, psychoanalytic therapy and spiritual interventions.

It essentially attempts to be a “cure” for being gay. At its most obscene, it is trying to “pray the gay away.”

The inclusion of this treatment to the Republican party platform may partially be in response to the recent banning of the treatment’s use on minors in New Jersey and California. While adults may still elect to undergo “reparative therapy,” the two states now offer minors legal protection from a decision by their parents or guardians that may be permanently damaging.

According to a report by CNN, many professional organizations such as the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association have discredited “reparative therapy” as an incorrect assessment of homosexuality as a mental illness. Moreover, the American Psychiatric Association called it a product of “societal ignorance and prejudice.”

Exercise science senior Maria Rueda holds the same view and believes that it is not anyone else’s right to attempt to change someone else.

 “Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that,” Perry said. “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”

“I feel like people should love whoever they want to love regardless of what other people think is right or wrong,” Rueda said. “If they’re homosexuals, that’s just who they are and I don’t think someone should try to change that just because they feel like that’s a wrong view or the wrong way of living.”

In an email interview with CNN, Cathie Adams, the president of the conservative Texas Eagle Forum, argued that it comes down to the just having the option open.

“Nothing is mandatory,” Adams wrote. “If a person chooses counseling, then it should be made available. California and New Jersey have passed bills outlawing it altogether, which is under litigation. It’s a freedom issue.”

Electrical engineering junior Trenton Richmond agrees that there is nothing wrong with reparative therapy if it is the individual’s decision.

“I honestly don’t care. It’s not really my business,” Richmond said. ”I mean, if somebody wants to change from being homosexual to being straight, I guess (that’s fine). If they want to go seek medical attention, that’s fine by me, really. I don’t see anything wrong with it.”

We do not need to know what causes handedness or sexual orientation to accept all of them as natural, which should be understood and respected.

Naturally, there has been much controversy and outrage surrounding the suggestion of this therapy. Republican politicians are just as naturally sticking to their proposal.

According to an article by the Houston Chronicle, Texas Gov. Rick Perry spoke to the Commonwealth Club of California shortly after the Republican State Convention, where he compared homosexuality to a disorder like alcoholism.

“Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that,” Perry said. “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”

However, despite what some seem to believe, being gay is not a disorder, nor can it be “cured.” Although our understanding of sexual orientation is incomplete — as with many other aspects of human experience — it is no more necessary than knowing why people are right-handed or left-handed, which may be a more fitting analogy than alcoholism.

For example, there are theories that handedness is genetic or determined in the womb, but there are still other theories that handedness can be influenced by nurture, or perhaps some combination of both.

Nevertheless, left-handedness has evil or unnatural connotations in multiple cultures, with some going so far as to try to “correct” the behavior in children, which has been shown to cause developmental problems and learning disabilities.

While the practice is nowhere near as detrimental as the practice of “reparative treatment,” I see many similarities.

Opinion columnist Eileen Holley is an English literature senior and may be reached at [email protected].

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