North Texas Daily

Transgender people are at risk if they undergo conversion therapy

Transgender people are at risk if they undergo conversion therapy

Transgender people are at risk if they undergo conversion therapy
October 03
18:38 2019

Gay conversion therapy isn’t new. Its painful existence has been felt since the late 1890s when psychiatrists thought that same-sex desire could be reversed.

Many LGBTQ people were subjected to its horrid practices and were left to deal with the traumas of the aftermath. It wasn’t until 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association deemed homosexuality not to be a mental illness.

Though that was a step in the right direction, its horrid practices still linger today.

There are several more terms included in the community like “queer,” “questioning” and “pansexuality,” to name a few. With the advancement of civil rights for the gay community earned this century, one would think that being a part of the LGBTQ community wouldn’t be as taboo as it is say, even 10 years ago.

But transgender rights are at the forefront today and facing discrimination akin to the 20th century and beforehand. Transgender people also still undergo the practices of conversion therapy.

Transgender people who undergo conversion therapy go to religious advisers and mental health professionals in order to affirm to their assigned gender at birth. According to the Washington Post, transgender people who go through “aversion treatments” are inflicted with physical pain in order to stop their thoughts and behaviors.

These “treatments” will often provide stimuli for the person with an image. The person will receive a shock every time they view the image, among other punishments.

In the past, aversion therapy has caused serious injuries to those who attempted it and fatalities were even known to occur. This barbaric practice not only physically and emotionally punishes those in the LGBTQ community, the methods were known to have no real impact as numbers of relapses were high.

19,000 transgender people participated in a survey by the Washington Post where 70 percent said they spoke to therapists about their gender identity at some point in their lifetime. Over 20 percent said they had gone through conversion therapy.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of them reported that they had severe psychological distress that included suicidal thoughts and actual suicidal attempts. Therapists said that a high number of transgender individuals felt that they weren’t valued by society or seen as equals to cisgender people.

It seems to me that those who do undergo conversion therapy do so for acceptance from family, friends or the community. Not all participants probably do it willingly, rather some are probably pushed or coerced by relatives to participate and they comply out of guilt or shame.

It’s appalling that these barbaric therapy sessions are still in practice. To put a human being through conditions of physical and emotional punishment for the sake of scientific research and ignorance should be considered a violation of human rights.

Conversion therapy has been discredited and condemned by the American Psychological Association and for good reason. According to the Human Rights Campaign, those who underwent conversion therapy were eight times more likely to attempt suicide and were three times more likely to contract HIV and STDs.

The numbers add up and they don’t lie, either. Conversion therapy doesn’t work.

As an ally to the LGBTQ community, I say you can’t fix what doesn’t need fixing in the first place. Transgender people need rights, but most importantly they deserve love and they must be treated like equals with corresponding equal rights.

Without the rights of all people, this country is not truly free.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

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Adrian Maldonado

Adrian Maldonado

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