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Comment: Banning ‘ex-gay’ therapy would only hurt people who want to change

Jeremy Schwab June 25, 2014
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Earlier this week, PinkNews reported that Jeremy Schwab authored a Texas GOP policy defending the use of ‘ex-gay’ therapy, and joked that he replaced his same-sex attraction with food. Unhappy with the article, here is Mr Schwab’s response, and defence of the use of the therapy.

When I was 14 years old, my parents found out about my SSA (Same-Sex Attraction). Their reaction was the epitome of horror stories. It was the most unbearable period of my life.

They were convinced I was demoniacally possessed and/or just plain evil. Their “cure” was to hold all-night Bible studies where my mother just screamed at me all night. They also took the door off of my bedroom and posted pictures of AIDS patients for me to look at every night. It was unbearable.  My hope is to prevent situations like that from happening.

For my family (and many others), there was a huge relief when my parents finally found out about Reparative Therapy and they realized that I did not choose my sexual orientation, and that it had nothing to do with me being “evil” or “possessed.”

They also learned from the therapist that the WORST thing they could do to me was to shame me. That didn’t necessarily stop them completely – old habits die hard – but it was a very strong force for change in their attitude and approach.

Beyond a few conversations, I did not fully pursue Reparative Therapy at that time, but I always remembered that it was a potential option and I always knew there were a lot of positive benefits. That is why I sought it out as an adult when I finally got tired of the life I was living in 2009.

I totally agree that the way some parents react is wrong and harmful. I see Reparative Therapy as a force for good, especially in those situations. Religious parents will simply not trust any secular psychologists that do not share their religious/ moral beliefs. They will, however, listen to therapists who do share and/or at least respect their beliefs and offer a positive alternative.

My intention in writing this policy was to protect free speech and the right of self-determination for individuals like myself, as well as for self-motivated teens who seek out and benefit greatly from Reparative Therapy and other forms of counselling.

I believe rights are being threatened by laws passed in California and New Jersey and introduced in many other states, which not only prohibit Sexual Orientation Change Efforts, but also any therapy or counselling designed to diminish a sexual attraction or behaviour. This is a clear violation of freedom of conscience.

Licensed therapists have always been forbidden from attempting to “change” anyone against their will. That would be a violation of basic ethics. All of the horror stories that have been presented which were similar to my own revolved around extreme religious perspectives and / or churches and not licensed therapists.

The laws in California, New Jersey, and the other states all target licensed therapists exclusively. This may be to avoid a court challenge on religious freedom. Unfortunately though, this only takes away the ONE voice of reason that these families and churches could benefit from.

I realize many of you may not consider a Reparative Therapist to be a voice of reason, but by comparison I hope you can see that they are at least a voice of positive affirmation for the individual. The entire focus is on eliminating shame and building self-esteem. Those are positive things whether or not someone chooses to pursue a gay relationship in the future.

This does not apply to gay community or to anyone who feels happy with a gay life. This only protects the rights of self-motivated individuals who are seeking out this type of help. Anyone who is not interested is not affected by this in the least.

It never has been about “curing” anyone and it never will be. It is about healing and wholeness as well as congruity. There are many of us who experience Same-Sex Attraction, but do NOT want to embrace the modern “Gay” label and have moral beliefs that mean Gay Relationships are NOT an option for us at all.

For me, and most guys I know who have pursued this therapy, there has been a significant decrease in our Same-Sex Attraction and our friendships have grown deeper and more fulfilling overall.

Many report that they have discovered they have significant OSA (Opposite-Sex Attraction). Regardless, I know that all of us would say we have benefited greatly and that every aspect of our lives has improved.

Reparative Therapy is positive and affirming of the individual. The entire premise of Reparative Therapy is building self-worth, self-esteem, and self-image. It is about healing emotional wounds.

The belief is that healing these wounds will make homosexual behaviour less compelling. Even if you believe compulsive homosexual behaviour is healthy, surely you can see how healing emotional wounds and building self-image and self-worth is always a positive thing.

Lastly, my comment about “food” was just a self-effacing joke. I guess it may not have come across that way to others.

Maybe it was a dumb joke. I only meant that I am no longer posing for pictures like that and I am also less self-conscious about my body. While it is true that I am one size bigger than I was when the pic was taken, I don’t think that is relevant to the overall topic.

The platform plank is not an endorsement or command for anyone. It simply protects the right of access for those (like myself and many others) who benefit from Reparative Therapy.

As with all comment articles the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of PinkNews.

More: ex-gay, Gay, gay cure, gop, homosexual, Jeremy Schwab, party, reparative, Republican, Texas, therapy, US

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