Conversion therapy illegal, harmful to progress

Minors put through reparative process in attempt to change orientation, social misunderstanding to blame



Practices taken up by religious groups to change minor’s sexual orientation are unconstitutional. Individuals of the LGBTQ+ community are treated as mentally ill despite mainstream health organizations deeming it perfectly healthy.

JASPER CONTRERAS, Evergreen columnist

In 2015 the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. Despite this momentous occasion and progress made since, the LGBTQ+ community still faces discrimination.

Progress isn’t as simple as one court case. Ignorance and hatred won’t lessen without people accepting a changing world. In many places, people across the country force minors to change their identities through anti-expression programs, often referred to as sexual orientation conversion therapy.

This process offered by some religious groups treats sexual orientation as a mental disorder, despite it being declassified by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973. This means homosexuality is not something that needs to or can be cured, according to the American Psychological Association.

Conversion therapy and most any other restriction to a person’s self-expression is a violation of that person’s rights. It not only forces these people to think who they are and how they think is fundamentally wrong, but directly violates the Fourteenth Amendment: all people are to be treated equal under the law.

By treating these people as though they have a mental illness, they are not treated as the healthy members of society they are.

States have seen a stream of laws banning conversion therapy on minors; Washington became one of these fifteen states just last year. But there are still 35 other states without laws to protect against these practices, leaving a major portion of the LGBTQ+ community vulnerable.

Apart from the overarching power of political ideologies, change cannot happen without accounting for others’ marginalized views. Some of this concern rest with how we tend to get so caught up in our own concerns during our interactions with others. In these instances, we could hardly fathom understanding someone else.

“At some point we need to come together and figure out what is the middle ground,” said Amy Sharp, the director at the WSU Women*s Center. “Is there compromise?”

Tolerance exists with the context that people listen to each other and take time to consider the world around them. With time, many elements in society come to benefit as well. Language, for instance, has begun to change into a more politically-correct form. This has caused another great divide of people where some follow along and others are constantly annoyed by these perceived limitations.

Political correctness is using language that appropriately labels someone without exclusion or insult. It isn’t coddling to use non-offensive language while communicating with someone.

“Some people have done a really good job where people are reaching across the other line to find out,” Sharp said. “It’s not about, ‘We’re right and they’re wrong.’ It’s about where’s the disconnect.”

There are many communities facing oppression who suffer in silence. The ignorance of some individuals may go unseen by us but can still be impactful to these groups.

These divides between communities could easily be resolved by communicating about these topics, spreading awareness on these issues and, most importantly, accepting them as part of a changing world.