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According to a recent article from the New York Times, Nevada and Connecticut have become the two newest states to declare “conversion therapy” — “therapy” meant to reassign one’s sexual orientation or sexual identity to its “proper,” heterosexual, heteronormative foundation — illegal to anyone under 18 years of age. Texas, not to mention the nation as a whole, should follow in the footsteps of states like Nevada and Connecticut, and put an end to an institution that not only promotes homophobia, but also reinforces and perpetuates feelings of inferiority and inadequacy in LGTBQ youths, a demographic of American society already more prone to bullying, assault, rape, and suicide than average (see this study from the CDC and this one from the Trevor Project).
At its philosophical core, conversion therapy believes that non-heterosexual children must be fundamentally altered in order to conform to “traditional” American society. Taking into account the fact that LGBTQ youths are already more at risk than their peers (see above), the combination of an adult “professional” making it his or her daily work to “restore” and LGBTQ child to heterosexuality can have exponentially damaging effects on a child’s self-worth. Rather than promoting and perpetuating feelings of inferiority and otherness, it is undoubtedly in the best interest of our state’s and our nation’s children to create a culture of acceptance.
To quote Chief Justice Warren’s Brown v. Board of Education opinion, “To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.” The same basic principle applies here: the continued “otherness” of LGBTQ youths will continue to have corrosive effects on a child’s self-worth and “status in the community.” Therefore, in order to protect at-risk American children, it is incumbent upon state and national legislators to outlaw conversion therapy.