There aren’t many things that I will vehemently speak out against with such passion but gay cure reparative therapy is always one that I will have extreme prejudice against. You can call it bias for the fact that I am a gay man who fully and completely am at peace with my sexuality and love how that has shaped who I am today. I do not perceive being gay as a sin or some abnormality from the norm of society. It is just a part of who I am.
I also acknowledge that not everyone who is LGBTQIA has come to this peace of mind. That for some, they unfortunately still struggle daily with their sexuality. This is for a multitude of reasons; because of fear of rejection from loved ones, religious Dogmas, job security, fear of hate, violence, and discrimination on a plethora of mediums, or just not yet comfortable with it yet.
Acceptance is a process before, during, and after coming out. So I understand the questioning of those not yet out on whether being gay is right but sincerely hope they reach the peaceful resolution that I as well as millions of others have come to know. And undoubtedly, the multitude of both internal and external pressures to suppress homosexuality leads someone to partake in such drastic and ineffective measures like altering one’s way of life to reflect that pressure. Again, it is a process.
I emphatically and wholeheartedly understand that. But I was deeply disturbed and quite frankly irate by Dr. Oz’s show yesterday in which he had guests that alleged to be proof that the therapy is a success. The guests that were proponents to the rogue approach to “curing gay” have every right to feel the way they feel even though I strongly disagree with it. My issue, at least for this article, is not with them. My issue here is with Dr. Oz who, as a licensed medical professional, failed to provide satiable and very credible evidence of the harmful effects the therapy can cause it’s participants.
You see, quite often in these sessions that are, to me, detrimental forms of brainwashing but quite often the process is labeled as “re-programming”. Participants are asked to employ several subjective and potentially harmful acts that incredulously ask you to treat homosexuality like it’s an addiction.
This “addiction” is seen as harmful to oneself or to others and and owning one’s sexuality to me is quite the opposite. Participants are informed that they will have to fight against their natural mental state of being attracted to the same sex, forever. And if that isn’t horrifying enough, stories like this one or this one are further evidence of why these therapies and overall ideologies are dangerous.
And the fact that many of these so called therapies have a religious connotation to them is another reason that I flat out condemn the practice. Groups like National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality that condone reparative therapy actually glorify their religious affiliations. To me, it implies that the therapy won’t work if you’re not what groups perceive to be their norm. That the only way you can know peace of mind is by their law and their doctrine which makes the entire program that much more insidious.
And to note that this is after the state of California banned this therapy for minors after their task force discovered the potentially harmful side effects of engaging in this practice:
The task force concluded that sexual orientation change efforts can pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, including confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, disappointment, self-blame, decreased self-esteem and authenticity to others, increased self-hatred, hostility and blame toward parents, feelings of anger and betrayal, loss of friends and potential romantic partners, problems in sexual and emotional intimacy, sexual dysfunction, high-risk sexual behaviors, a feeling of being dehumanized and untrue to self, a loss of faith, and a sense of having wasted time and resources.
Yet it seemed that Dr. Oz glazed over this issue during his daytime talk show and decided only later to issue a statement on why this therapy is s0 harmful
I agree with the established medical consensus. I have not found enough published data supporting positive results with gay reparative therapy, and I have concerns about the potentially dangerous effects when the therapy fails, especially when minors are forced into treatments.
Dr. Oz is referencing to the long held stance that the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Counselling Association, American Academy of Pediatrics that have noted the potential harm. So again I ask, why not say this from the beginning Dr. Oz? As a medical professional, I feel it is not only imperatively but also ethically your duty to clearly provide the facts of what gay reparative therapies can induce. Even a short reiteration of the APA’s stance would’ve been sufficient:
“The American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as “reparative” or “conversion” therapy, which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder, or based upon a prior assumption that the patient should change his/ her homosexual orientation.”
And even though Dr. Oz agrees with medical professionals after the fact, the presentation on the matter during his show conveys something different. This could say to the audience who may generally be uninformed and this is their first time they’ve had opportunity to hear pertinent information on the matter that the therapy only hear inaccurate information.
What’s even more unsettling is that it appears the show was only done for the sensationalism and leaves a unfavorable impression on those that know either through experience or study of these harmful effects. Reparative therapy is not some panacea or new age healing and in fact is quite the opposite. I implore Dr. Oz to think of that the next time he journeys onto such a controversial topic.