Skip to main content

Why is Texas GOP backing gay conversion therapy?

By Melody Moezzi
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 1219 GMT (2019 HKT)
April Dawn Breeden, left, and longtime partner Crystal Peairs are married by the Rev. Katie Hotze-Wilton at St. Louis City Hall on Wednesday, November 5. A Missouri judge on November 5 overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriages and ordered registrars to start issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples. More than 30 states and the District of Columbia allow marriage for same-sex couples. April Dawn Breeden, left, and longtime partner Crystal Peairs are married by the Rev. Katie Hotze-Wilton at St. Louis City Hall on Wednesday, November 5. A Missouri judge on November 5 overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriages and ordered registrars to start issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples. More than 30 states and the District of Columbia allow marriage for same-sex couples.
HIDE CAPTION
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Same-sex marriage in the U.S.
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Texas GOP endorsed "reparative therapy" to convert gays to straight orientation
  • Melody Moezzi says such therapy isn't recognized by legitimate science
  • She says two states have banned the therapy for minors
  • Moezzi: Young Republicans are going to be repelled by such decisions

Editor's note: Melody Moezzi is a writer, activist, attorney and award-winning author. Her latest book, "Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life," will be available in paperback July 1. Follow her on Twitter @MelodyMoezzi. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- Apparently working under the impression that they understand the science of sexuality better than the World Health Organization or the American Medical or Psychological or Psychiatric associations, Texas Republicans made a bold statement last weekend.

With zero debate, they adopted a party platform that includes support for a widely discredited form of mental health "treatment" known as "reparative therapy." Also called "conversion therapy," this dangerous pseudo-medical practice aimed at transforming homosexuals into heterosexuals has been widely demonstrated to be both ineffective and harmful, not to mention offensive.

The clearly misguided assumption underlying such therapy is the belief (often reinforced by self-serving interpretations of any number of religious texts) that homosexuality is a disease. However, much like drapetomania (the pseudo-scientific "disease" an enterprising white man conveniently identified in the mid-19th century was described as the condition that led black slaves to attempt escape), homosexuality is in fact not an illness, but rather a fact of human nature. And rejecting human nature can have devastating effects on the psyche, demonstrating that if there is a real disease that needs fixing here, it's homophobia, not homosexuality.

Melody Moezzi
Melody Moezzi

Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth experience significantly increased risk for suicide than their heterosexual peers. In fact, as cited by the Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization that provides LGBT youth with crisis intervention and suicide prevention services, LGB youth are four times more likely than their heterosexual peers to attempt suicide, and their attempts are four to six times more likely to result in injuries that require medical attention. Moreover, LGB youth from highly unsupportive families (like the kinds that would be drawn to conversion therapy) are more than eight times more likely to have attempted suicide as those from more accepting and supportive households.

Recognizing this, both New Jersey and California have banned conversion therapy for minors, and other states are considering similar initiatives.

State rep defends gay conversion therapy
Texas GOP backs 'reparative therapy'

By explicitly supporting such pseudo-therapy, the Texas Republican party has done more than simply turn a blind eye to science and the potentially deadly consequences of the negative attitudes and self-hatred that such "treatments" reinforce. It has reminded us just how out of touch the Texas GOP can be—not only regarding modern medicine, but also with respect to the future of their own party.

According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of Republicans under 30 support same-sex marriage. That's only 1 percentage point less than that of Democrats over the age of 65 who support it. In short, the dinosaurs behind embarrassing and discriminatory platforms like this are guaranteeing their own extinction by clinging onto closed-minded convictions that are clearly on the way out.

But there is hope. As it turns out, some of the most seemingly anti-gay individuals are in fact responding to an internalized homophobia in conflict with their own homosexuality. Keeping this and the aforementioned statistics in mind, I propose that Texas Republicans step into the 21st century by adopting a different kind of conversion therapy—namely, one that replaces fear and bigotry with knowledge, acceptance and respect.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
The plan by President Obama to provide legal status to millions of undocumented adults living in the U.S. leaves Republicans in a political quandary.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0313 GMT (1113 HKT)
Despite criticism from those on the right, Obama's expected immigration plans won't make much difference to deportation numbers, says Ruben Navarette.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
As new information and accusers against Bill Cosby are brought to light, we are reminded of an unshakable feature of American life: rape culture.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 2256 GMT (0656 HKT)
When black people protest against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri, they're thought of as a "mob."
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 2011 GMT (0411 HKT)
Lost in much of the coverage of ISIS brutality is how successful the group has been at attracting other groups, says Peter Bergen.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
Do recent developments mean that full legalization of pot is inevitable? Not necessarily, but one would hope so, says Jeffrey Miron.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
We don't know what Bill Cosby did or did not do, but these allegations should not be easily dismissed, says Leslie Morgan Steiner.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
Does Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have the influence to bring stability to Jerusalem?
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1759 GMT (0159 HKT)
Even though there are far fewer people being stopped, does continued use of "broken windows" strategy mean minorities are still the target of undue police enforcement?
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 0258 GMT (1058 HKT)
The truth is, we ran away from the best progressive persuasion voice in our times because the ghost of our country's original sin still haunts us, writes Cornell Belcher.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2141 GMT (0541 HKT)
Children living in the Syrian city of Aleppo watch the sky. Not for signs of winter's approach, although the cold winds are already blowing, but for barrel bombs.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
We're stuck in a kind of Middle East Bermuda Triangle where messy outcomes are more likely than neat solutions, says Aaron David Miller.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
In the midst of the fight against Islamist rebels seeking to turn the clock back, a Kurdish region in Syria has approved a law ordering equality for women. Take that, ISIS!
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 0407 GMT (1207 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says President Obama would be justified in acting on his own to limit deportations
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
America will have its hands full in the Middle East for years to come, writes Aaron David Miller.
November 15, 2014 -- Updated 1617 GMT (0017 HKT)
Gene Seymour says it's part of our pioneering makeup to keep exploring the universe
November 14, 2014 -- Updated 1742 GMT (0142 HKT)
Sally Kohn says the U.S.-China agreement to cut carbon emissions is a big deal, and Republicans should take note.
November 15, 2014 -- Updated 2129 GMT (0529 HKT)
S.E. Cupp says the Obamacare advisor who repeatedly disses the electorate in a series of videotaped remarks reveals arrogance and cluelessnes.
November 14, 2014 -- Updated 2200 GMT (0600 HKT)
Reggie Littlejohn says gendercide is a human rights abuse against women, with bad consequences for nations.
November 13, 2014 -- Updated 1657 GMT (0057 HKT)
The massing of Russian forces near Ukraine only reinforces the impression that Moscow has no interest in reconciliation with the West, writes Michael Kofman.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1455 GMT (2255 HKT)
It takes a real man to make the moves on the wife of the most powerful man in the biggest country. Especially when the wife is a civilian major general.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1347 GMT (2147 HKT)
Proponents of marriage equality LGBT persons have been on quite a winning streak -- 32 states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage.
November 13, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
It has been an eventful few weeks for space news.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 2014 GMT (0414 HKT)
It's too early to write the U.S. off, and China's leaderships knows that better than anyone, argues Kerry Brown.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1821 GMT (0221 HKT)
"How can Jon Stewart hire you to be 'The Daily Show''s senior Muslim correspondent when you don't even know how to pronounce Salaam Al-aikum?!"
ADVERTISEMENT