With a pandemic, war, and comedically brutal politics, the persistent existence of conversion therapy in Florida is one more thing that made the list of crazy things that are going on in the world. 

In recent news, Boca Raton has overturned a ban on conversion therapy that could have saved countless LGBTQ+ individuals from being subjected to the machinations of Bible-thumping fanatics masquerading as psychologists. 

Folks, this is bad news, like you have herpes bad. You know who gave conversion therapy a bad name? The people that are crazy enough to actually try performing it on another human being! The people behind conversion therapy have tried everything from torturing people to injecting them with nasty chemicals and performing the occasional exorcism all in an effort to try to force people to be heterosexual. They’ve even tried shock therapy! 

The fact that there are still groups in existence today that are fighting for the right to perform conversion therapy on largely unwilling participants, is a serious problem. 

Unfortunately, now that the courts have overturned the ban on conversion therapy in Boca Raton, the madness will continue unchecked. Here’s what you need to know about how the ban was overturned and what the persistence of conversion therapy means for Floridians. 

What Happened

Because overturning Roe V. Wade wasn’t bad enough, the powers that be also decided to overturn a ban on conversion therapy for children in parts of Florida. The ban was effectively voided by the court and that’s right, they’re talking about performing conversion therapy on children. 

The fact that extensive physical, mental, and sexual abuse has occurred during so-called conversion therapy treatments, was apparently lost on local legislators.  

How did that happen? Well, it came down to a matter of freedom of speech, something that a couple of therapists insisted was being stifled by the ban. Never mind the rights of the children who are forced into conversion therapy sessions and traumatized for the rest of their lives.

What Is Conversion Therapy Anyway?

Conversion therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Also known as conversion treatment, reparative therapy, and spiritual intervention, this practice is based on the assumption that same-sex attraction is a sign of mental illness or is morally wrong. 

Working under the belief that same-sex attraction can be unlearned or replaced with opposite-sex attraction, conversion therapists will try to alter a client’s same-sex desires in order to “treat” them. 

These methods include everything from psychoanalysis to shock therapy. Although we are seeing more and more support for ending conversion therapy practices across the globe, it’s still legal in Florida.

Why Is Conversion Therapy Wrong?

Before we discuss how conversion therapy is wrong, let’s first discuss why it is so harmful. Conversion therapy is a violation of human rights for a number of reasons. First, it’s incredibly harmful to the mental health of those who participate in it. Research suggests that conversion therapy can cause anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, and even lead to lifelong PTSD. 

Second, it promotes a culture of intolerance and the idea that the LGBTQ+ community is disease-ridden and broken. Finally, conversion therapy is often forced upon minors without their consent, violating their right to self-determination.

How Can We Stop Conversion Therapy?

Conversion therapy is illegal in many parts of the world. However, we are still seeing pseudo-scientific “therapists” attempting to perform this harmful practice on LGBTQ individuals. Now is the time to step up and fight to stop conversion therapy once and for all. 

Eliminating harmful practices like conversion therapy will take time and effort. You can make a difference by bringing conversion therapy into the public eye and discussing the damage it causes with your peers and loved ones. Alternatively, you can support organizations that fight for LGBTQ+ rights and donate to the organizations that are fighting to end conversion therapy.

What Constitutes Conversion Therapy?

The term “conversion therapy” encompasses a wide range of methods and practices. However, it often entails a therapist attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. 

This includes feelings towards members of the same sex, the opposite sex, and both. Sexual orientation is not a choice. It is a natural part of who a person is. 

Gender identity refers to a person’s internal feeling of being male, female, both, or neither. This can also include the way a person expresses their masculinity or femininity. Gender identity is often not related to sexual orientation, however, people are still trying to use conversion therapy to force others to accept the gender they were born with.   

How LGBTQ Youth Are Still Being Coerced Into Conversion Therapy

Unfortunately, we still see many examples of adults violating children and coercing them into conversion therapy. This can take the form of intense therapy that lasts for years or religious practices that attempt to “cure” young people of their same-sex desires. 

These practices are often disguised as something else and only occur behind closed doors. This makes it incredibly difficult for researchers and advocates to track and record the number of children who are being forced into these harmful practices. However, we know that rates of conversion therapy are high and that it can lead to lifelong psychological damage.

Bottom line

Conversion therapy is both pseudoscientific and harmful. Research suggests that this practice can cause anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, and even lead to lifelong PTSD. 

It is a violation of human rights for a few reasons: it promotes a culture of intolerance and the idea that the LGBTQ+ community is disease-ridden and broken, and it ignores the fact that sexuality is fluid and that people can naturally experience same-sex attraction without having been sexually assaulted in the past, and it is often forced upon minors without their consent, violating their right to self-determination. 

We can go about this: by educating ourselves, talking about it, and supporting organizations that fight for LGBTQ+ rights. When something as crazy as allowing conversion therapy to be perpetrated upon innocent children is a huge red flag. It’s going to take a lot of activism, bravery, and legislative pushback to correct this issue.