Historically, the Republican Party has been an advocate for “rehabilitating” gay or transgender people.
Vice President Mike Pence faced criticism for comments he made in 2000 when he stated his support for groups that “provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” to which he insisted wasn’t supportive of conversion therapy.
Up until 1973, homosexuality was included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, according to Huffington Post. Among the various methods for “getting rid of” homosexuality, conversion therapy was the most popular, and is still considered a viable method to this day.
Conversion therapy refers to a psychotherapy method that aims to change a person’s sexual or gender identity. The technique has been deemed extremely harmful to its recipients and are a continuation of inhumane methods such as electroshock therapy and castration, according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Senate Democrats have attempted multiple times throughout the years to pass a bill banning this archaic and ineffective technique, but have been unsuccessful.
Research has proven that the method poses dangerous risks for LGBTQ youth including depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness and suicide. Currently, only seven states have banned the practice of conversion therapy, one of them being California.
Senate Democrats are continuing the fight by reintroducing the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act which would classify the provision and advertising of conversion therapy in exchange for monetary compensation as a fraudulent practice, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The bill is being pushed forward by Senators Patty Murray of Washington and Corey Booker of New Jersey.
“On this and so many other issues impacting the LGBTQ community, the Trump Administration has laid out a hateful, damaging agenda to undo hard-won progress, divide our communities, and hurt our friends, neighbors and family members just because of who they are or who they love,” Murray said.
While Republicans such as chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus, claims that the group does not advocate for conversion therapy, it’s worth noting that among the 23 co-sponsors of the bill, not one is a Republican.
We are living in a society currently dominated by bigotry and hate. While I’m sure some Republican views are more progressive than others, acting as a bystander is equivalent to being a full-fledged advocate for conversion therapy and other inhumane methods.
Politicians need to represent the beliefs and interests of the people, but instead they tend to express the opinions of a small handful of like-minded individuals who do not represent the majority.
The lifestyle of being gay or transgender has always been a controversial topic within the religious community, but church and state — although they often intermingle — are supposed to be separate entities. When world’s collide, there is either an opportunity to make progressive change as a united front, or butt heads and remain stagnant.
Whether someone is gay, transgender, gender fluid or non binary, their personal choices should never be policed by the government.
Sexual and gender identity are not a threat to society. It’s time to erase the dominant ideology of heterosexuality and embrace diversity in whatever form that may be.