California Ban on "Conversion Therapy" Is Not About Consumer Protection.

Why is it every time a minority makes some small progress toward getting the rest of everybody to get off their fucking backs and let them live their lives, some straight person or white person or male person jumps up and says, "What about me?" I get bullied too! Everybody gets bullied, and what about reverse discrimination, and what about my religious liberties? Why do you get special treatment?!

This guy thinks "conversion therapy" is being unfairly singled out by California's new ban. I guess it's not a new idea that the most interesting characteristic of privilege is that it works whether or not you recognize that you have it:

"Whether government banning of such procedures is the most appropriate response is worth debating, however. There are a number of therapies out there which have been empirically demonstrated to range from useless to outright harmful."

Um, it's not banned because it's useless or even just because it's harmful, it's banned because it is by design used to harm a group of people for who they are. You can't compare it to "rebirthing" therapy, etc., except to say that both are based on quack science. But we're not talking about consumer protection here. We're talking about protecting kids. The author barely mentions the fact that the California ban only applies to people under 18. It is not meant to protect us from quacks; it's meant to keep kids safe from their Christian fundamentalist parents. Rebirthing therapy is a wrong (ineffective, harmful, fake) solution to what could be a real problem. Conversion therapy is also ineffective, harmful, and fake, but the patient doesn't have the problem - the parents, the families, the church people, the culture has the problem.

Not that I don't feel for adults whose experience of their sexuality is so twisted by shame that they would enroll in one of these programs, but it's kids who are most vulnerable to the abuses of religious fundamentalism. The law protects minors from parents who have such deep contempt for their children that they would imprison and shame them in an effort to transform them into something they deem lovable.

Of course it doesn't work - you can't make gay people not gay. The most you can hope for is to fuck them up emotionally and psychologically for the rest of their lives.

Just because banning conversion therapy might "drive it underground" isn't an excuse to tolerate it. Should we legalize wife-beating because making it illegal forces people to do it at home and not talk about it? Obviously, people are compelled to treat each other in all sorts of horrific ways, and they'll continue regardless of whether it's legal or not, but that doesn't mean a society should just throw up its hands.

Cross-posted at