I like Chris Matthews and watch his show religiously every Sunday morning while enjoying my coffee. He has been a reliable and steadfast ally for the LGBT community and for this I applaud him
However, I was disappointed to learn that he unwisely spoke out against a critical bill to ban “ex-gay” therapy for minors in New Jersey. In his off-the-cuff commentary, he asks the question, “Why would the state ever get involved in something like conversion therapy?”
Well, Chris, why does the state get involved in any case of child abuse?
The American Psychiatric Association clearly states that attempts to change sexual orientation can lead to “anxiety, depression, and self-destructive behavior.” It seems rather clear that it is within the purview of the state to protect children from a practice that could lead to such harmful outcomes.
Chris should understand that so-called reparative therapy is arguably not even therapy at all. It is an organized campaign by anti-gay activists to hijack medical language to stigmatize a group of people so they will not achieve equal rights. The result is enormous psychological damage to clients and a negative impact on family relationships, because parents are falsely blamed for causing their children to be gay.
This barbaric practice is virtually the only form of “therapy” that personally attacks and dehumanizes the people it purports to be helping. Here is what Gerard van den Aardweg, a leading reparative therapist for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) suggests telling young clients:
“Frequently youngsters who express their probably not-yet fixated homoerotic feelings or fantasies are informed by the ‘experts’ that they are homosexuals. That may hit hard and dash whatever hopes there were. I suggest that as a preferable reaction to young people who disclose their secret feelings something like this: You may indeed feel that interest in your own sex, but it is still a question of immaturity. By nature, you are not that way. Your heterosexual nature has not yet awakened. What we have to discuss is a personality problem, your inferiority complex.”
“…nor can the homosexual affair or relationship satisfy or give any happiness other than a short-lived emotional ‘kick.’ The ideal giver of warmth exists only in the insatiable fantasy of the sufferer from this complex and therefore is never found.”
I have great difficulty believing that a decent man like Chris Matthews truly believes that a 13 year old who has just come out to his parents should be forcibly subjected to such abusive language and distorted views of LGBT people in the guise of therapy. I’d like him to take a moment to think about what it is like for a perfectly healthy gay teenager to be told by a therapist, who is held up as an “expert,” that he suffers from a mental illness and will never find true happiness. Can Chris give even one example of how such so-called “therapy” might benefit a vulnerable teen or desperate parent seeking answers?
Of course, there are also the bizarre techniques used by these charlatans. I’d love for Chris to explain how coercing teens into the therapy shown in the following video (and this is the form endorsed by JONAH, which is a based in Jersey City) can produce anything but lifelong trauma?
Really, Chris? You think what occurred on this video is acceptable “therapy” for LGBT teens who may already be depressed or suicidal because of persecution at home and bullying in school? Clearly, such therapy only compounds guilt and shame a teenager may already be feeling due to societal conditioning.
Reparative therapy is always dangerous and ineffective because it begins with a deliberate misdiagnosis that claims gay clients are sick — even though every respected medical and mental health organization says this is not true. When a therapist begins treatment with such a faulty premise, malpractice is a likely result.
Finally, there is the trail of victims, from damaged clients, to the men and women whose lives were ruined because they married spouses who lived double lives, thanks to poor advice from such “therapists.”
Chris should take pause and think really hard about whether he believes such quackery deserves the imprimatur of the state and the official seal medical licensing boards. I’m no fan of over-regulation, but if ever there was a clear case where the state desperately needed to step in and prevent child abuse, this is it. We welcome a dialogue with Chris, to help him better understand this issue and realize children will be significantly harmed until the state acts.