WCT’s Carrie Maxwell writes:
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Truth Wins Out held community meetings to discuss “conversion” therapy at the Provo Community United Church of Christ in Provo, Utah, April 11 and at the First Baptist Church of Salt Lake City in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 12.
“We wanted to raise awareness of the harm that ‘conversion’ therapy causes people … that this isn’t a thing of the past and is still taking place around the country and abroad,” said Sam Wolfe, a civil-rights lawyer for SPLC who helped launch the LGBT Rights Project.
The meetings were held in Utah, Wolfe told Windy City Times, because of his personal connection to the area, growing up as a Mormon and attending Brigham Young University where he first encountered “conversion” therapy as a student. Also, Wolfe said, Mormons tend to be a strong constituency within the conversion-therapy movement.
TWO’s Besen explained the history of conversion-therapy movement and the figures who were supportive but have since denounced the practice.
“We want to educate the public that these kinds of therapies are ineffective and destructive,” said Besen. “People are wasting money and time to chase a false hope that they can change their sexual orientation. These groups are relying on junk science and religious propaganda to defraud people into thinking they can turn straight.
“We are excited that these groups are getting exposed and are on the losing side of history since their experiment has failed. We aim to make sure that people know this information so they don’t get sucked into their web. The only ‘ex-gay’ people out there to promote any success stories are still a part of “reparative” therapy organizations. No one else is espousing this philosophy outside of these organizations.”