Gay and Transgender Conversion Therapy Is Terrible, and So Is the Idea of a Federal Ban

Neither the president nor Congress should be playing any role in validating psychological treatments.


This is generally NOT how it works.
Credit: Itlookslikemaik |

There was a time in America where it was very clear to almost everybody that homosexuality was a mental illness. This was not a controversial position. It was the default position. It took decades of cultural interactions, explorations, investigations, and activism to reverse this default position. And it's not even over. For many folks, it's not a settled matter.

Even as the needle of acceptance has moved from red to green for gays and lesbians, there's still a lot of work for transgender folks to catch up, though even they are seeing a more hospitable society than they were just a few years ago.

And so conversion therapy is still a thing that exists. Conversion therapy, discredited and dismissed by the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association, claims to cure people of their homosexual urges or their feelings of being born of the wrong sex. Furthermore, experts decry conversion therapy as dangerous, creating additional mental anxieties in gay and transgender patients. And these patients are frequently minors ordered to therapy by unaccepting parents, creating a situation where vulnerable, confused teens are being forced into a treatment they probably wouldn't choose for themselves and that may make their emotional problems even worse.

Some states have started stepping in, banning licensed therapists from offering conversion therapy. These bans have been challenged on First Amendment grounds, but so far the courts have allowed it, and the Supreme Court has declined to take up challenges. Pivoting off the extremely public suicide of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn, who stepped in front of a truck on a highway last year after being subjected to conversion therapy, activists posted an online petition at the White House calling for a federal ban on such treatments.

Last night Valerie Jarrett responded to the petition on behalf of the White House. The administration agrees that conversion therapy is terrible, and here's what they had to say about the possibility of a federal ban:

While a national ban would require congressional action, we are hopeful that the clarity of the evidence combined with the actions taken by these states will lead to broader action that this Administration would support.

It would be extremely dangerous for the federal government, via federal legislation, to attempt to declare what sort of therapy is legal. There's a reason I started this blog post by pointing out America's historical and cultural responses to homosexuality and transgenderism. The government was frequently the cause of distress for these teens, not their defenders.

There's an inclination here to say, "Well, now the government's got it all straightened out." But why on earth would anybody want to go in that direction after history shows? What sort of slippery slopes could deeper federal regulation of therapeutic practices lead to? Consider that the science is hardly settled over the origins of transgender feelings. We've still barely scratched the surface, frankly, according to the American Psychological Association:

There is no single explanation for why some people are transgender. The diversity of transgender expression and experiences argues against any simple or unitary explanation. Many experts believe that biological factors such as genetic influences and prenatal hormone levels, early experiences, and experiences later in adolescence or adulthood may all contribute to the development of transgender identities.

It's absurd to say that the transgender experience is all in somebody's head or that it's not real, or cling to the idea that it's a mental illness out of hand. I have known transgender people both before and after their transitions and have seen them leading much happier lives.

But it's also equally absurd to never push or poke at any individual's claim to a transgender identity. A gender transition is a huge, huge deal, and therapists need to be able to make sure their clients hammer out their concepts of who they are before they make some very major decisions. A small number of those who pursue surgery to change their sex regret it. The number is statistically small (and sometimes overstated)—unless you happen to be one of them.

We should have some very fundamental worries about the government regulating speech because it happens to be connected to a government-licensed private occupation. Looking even further, we should consider the implications in a society that is increasingly acting as though people's good feelings and sense of self-esteem are worthy of taking legal precedence over liberty and free speech. I couldn't care less if actual providers of conversion or reparative therapies go the way of the brontosaurus. We should be more concerned that therapists would become afraid to challenge how their patients see themselves out of fear of running afoul of a government regulation telling them how to go about treatment.

NEXT: Steve Chapman on the Faint Case for Rand Paul

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  1. What is Rand Paul’s opinion on this?

    1. I can make an educated guess but I would like to think he’d have the good sense to not go all executive-order on it like you know who.

    2. Forget that, what do the millennials think?

  2. What about the issue of teenagers being forced to attend such therapy against their will by their parents?

    1. Kids have to do a lot of things they don’t like because of their parents. The best solution is for all parental decisions to be cleared through some central parenting expert. Or maybe we shouldn’t leave parenting to people who have not been properly licensed by the state.

      1. You thinks that’s just a joke, but I was reading some liberal blogs about overpopulation the idea of parental licensing is very popular with the nuts.

    2. I force my kids to sit at the table for dinner against their will. Please don’t tell anyone.

      1. You monster. I bet you want them to eat vegetables, too.

        1. Last night, I forced my kids to take a bath. With soap.

          When you have boys, these are two distinct orders.

          1. The therapist I was sent to required me to admit, after a few sessions, that I’d been molested as a child (I had not) before we could proceed with therapy because his theory of the genesis of same sex attraction required that to be true.

            Not gonna lie, I would be entertained if a parent sent their kids of to be de-gayed, had their kids “recover” memories of being molested and then start accusing the father or uncle or siblings of having touched his pee-pee as a child.

            There is a difference between recognized authority figures telling you that you’ve undergone traumatic childhood experiences that you haven’t (please look at the McMartin scandal to see how badly this can go) and telling your kids to take a bath.

            1. It’s super confusing to me that gay kids in this therapy don’t already do that. Dad making me go to Jesus therapy? Dad goes to jail.

            2. Jesse, you can’t tell me you didn’t expect to find tasteless hyperbole in the comments. That’s pretty much what we do.

              My son’s therapist required him to successfully state during a polygraph that his father didn’t smoke weed. My ex is now selling handmade stash boxes with delightfully carved pot icons.

              This still pisses me off, but I’m not howling for government intervention. I can’t imagine a problem they would fail to make far worse.

              1. It’s kinda tough when this topic comes up to tell the difference between people who are being hyperbolic and actual assholes (briannnnn for example is a known asshole, so I just assume it is being serious with its suggestions).

                Your son’s therapist sounds like he needs a good blanket party.

                I’m really torn on the issue of laws on reparative therapy because it’s the nutty fringe of an already iffy discipline and I do think it is destructive more often than it is benignly ineffective. I assume that outlawing it here will lead to more of the sending kids abroad business that Stormy was mentioning lower in the thread.

                1. Hey! I might be an asshole, but I’m only saying what I believe. And I tend to back it up.

                2. I certainly considered it destructive to order my son to lie well enough to pass a polygraph. I had to deal with that.

                  I didn’t have a Dad, I had a narcissistic asshole with a string of six divorces and many employer-ordered anger management and diversity classes. I had to deal with that, eventually by not speaking to him ever again.

                  Harmful therapy and asshole parents are not necessarily issues limited to gays and transgendered. Some people get dealt a more difficult hand than others. This is unfortunate, and I can empathize. I cannot imagine government is going to make these issues better, though. “There oughtta be a law” thinking is just not in my nature until the actual harm breached is greater than the probable harm done by the government to “fix” it.

                  I don’t think this approaches that level of harm. But yes, I do believe the therapists are quacks and the parents are twats who are wrecking a relationship with the child they have, in the hopes of turning them into the child they want.

                3. I’m really torn on the issue of laws on reparative therapy because it’s the nutty fringe of an already iffy discipline and I do think it is destructive more often than it is benignly ineffective.

                  I think reasonable people can agree that such therapies are idiotic and that parents who send their children to them are foolish, abusive, or both. The problem is foolish isn’t something that should be illegal and there’s plenty of abusive that shouldn’t rise to the level of illegality.

              2. I don’t understand the therapist-polygraph-weed-stash box story.

            3. The therapist I was sent to required me to admit, after a few sessions, that I’d been molested as a child

              Jesus that’s horrible.

              I avoided the whole shebang by staying firmly in the closet until I left home.

              1. I got outed to my family after a test-run with coming to some friends. A cousin found out who was “really burdened” by the knowledge and told my uncle, who promised not to say anything and immediately told my parents because “I would want to know”. Then I was sent to a Love Won Out conference, which was delightfully bizarre, and then to a therapist. As soon as I left for college I put an end to it.

                1. So you never were cured then?

                  1. No, sadly. My mother still insists that Jesus will come into my heart and make me a heterosexual one day.

                    Keep the faith, mom!

                    1. So a man touching you in an intimate way will UN-gay you? This doesn’t seem right.

              2. Why do therapists think they’re Sherlock Holmes and can uncover crimes?

                I read about a mental-health guy who recommended releasing a guy from the hospital. When the DA asked about all the violent crimes he’d been charged with (and found not guilty by reason of insanity) the shrink said, “oh, I thought he was just making those crimes up!”

                1. Well, as I often say, “economics is NOT a ‘science.”
                  Now I need to add most of the alleged Mental Health field, too…

                  They never get to run double-blind controlled experiments, either, just like economists don’t.

          2. Think the boys would go for this, Hamster?:


            Only thing is, it’s not strong enough when used that way to keep you from needing soap. You could also use it as soap, but that doesn’t save them any work.

          3. Say, come to think of it, that bit about having to tell boys to use soap is a microcosm of this issue. If it’s true that girls clean themselves better than boys, is there some biologic cause of that, or is it just cultural? It’s hard for me to believe there’d be a biologic cause to a behavioral difference between boys & girls that’d relate to their use of soap. What, is male skin more susceptible to eczema, hence leading to an aversion to soap? it’d be hard to come up with any other explanation consistent w biologic adapt’n related to sex.

    3. I’d be open to the argument that it constitutes a form of child-abuse, but I’m uncomfortable criminalizing the actions of parents who really think they are doing what is best for their children, tragically misguided though they are.

      1. There’s a distinction between criminalizing the actions of parents because the state disagrees with them and criminalizing the actions of parents because the child disagrees with them. Just because I share common DNA with someone doesn’t grant me an exception to the NAP.

        1. Aww, Stormy, just because they made you without your consent, you don’t think you should be their chattel? THAT IS CRAZYTALK.

          1. Aww, Stormy, just because they made you without your consent, you don’t think you should be their chattel?

            This has about as much nuance as the magical birth canal argument. You don’t have any ability to make your own choices at 1 year old, just as there isn’t really any practical difference between 17 years, 11 months and 18 years old.

            1. So you agree babies don’t consent to be born?

              1. They can kill themselves if they don’t like it.

        2. Well, it strikes me as somewhat facile to say that in a case where the parents’ wishes seem to be of obvious detriment to the well being of the child, but would you extend that to all decisions and situations? Should the state be involved in disagreements over bed times, or how many vegetables the child should eat? What’s the guiding principle?

          1. What’s the guiding principle?

            Proclivity to ass sex is a natural right not to be tinkered with?

            1. You know, straight people can have ass sex too!

              1. Hard to get a clit big enough to feel it in there, but yes!

                1. Every girl I’ve dated has been really into it…It was only after having several candid discussion with some of my best friends that I realized how lucky I’ve been!

                  1. “The four most overrated things in the world are champagne, lobster, anal sex, and picnics.”
                    -Christopher Hitchens

                    1. I’d have to put caviar in there ahead of anal sex.

                    2. Personally, I prefer a less expensive lube.

                    3. OK, here’s mine: Bars, opera, parenthood, and cruises.

    4. It’s awful. However, that hardly means federal involvement is a better option.

      1. It’s better for those administering the federal involvement.

        1. Did you read the link? I would say that emancipation would be very helpful in such cases.
          Unless they are trying to hold them incommunicado or something. There ought to be legal avenues for kids to declare themselves independent of their parents irregardless.

          1. Unless they are trying to hold them incommunicado or something.

            That’s exactly what is being done in some cases.

            1. Is it better when the state holds the child incommunicado merely because it suspects the parents had or had plans to degay their child?

              1. Of course it is. There’s no excuse for child abuse, unless we’re doing it. You know that.

        2. You are talking about criminal actions now. That’s a whole different ballgame.

    5. Those teens should consider exacting some private justice from their parents, and maybe be a lesson to others.

      1. Revenge is not justice.

        1. So if someone kills my sister (and I witness it) and I kill them, justice in’t served?

          1. No. Justice wasn’t served when your sister was killed, and unless the guy was going to kill again, it isn’t served by his death. That doesn’t mean you belong in jail, though.

            I believe it was sarcasmic who said “justice is the absence of injustice”. Since you cannot control other people, the only thing you can do to effect justice is to live your own life justly. The reality of the world is that a lesser injustice may be necessary to prevent a greater injustice, but that is utility not justice.

  3. We definitely need more government involvement here. Is there nothing more government can’t do?

  4. Leelah Alcorn was a horrible selfish sack of shit who ruined Abdullahi Ahmed’s life. If any law is passed, please take this poor excuse for a human being’s name off of it.

  5. What about “otherkin”? Is therapy allowed to try to cure their delusions?

  6. Why are we lumping same-sex attraction together with “transgender” ism?

    The former is an inclination toward certain activities.

    The latter is a mistake of fact. If were born with dangly bits, you’re male, and no amount of wishing (or surgery) can make you a woman. If you’ve got a uterus, you’re female, and wishing won’t make you male. Just as wishing you were the Emperor Napoleon doesn’t make you Napoleon.

    But apparently, telling that to a teenage patient – “look, you’re male, I know you may not like it, but you gotta deal with it” – should be a cause for a mental-health professional to lose his (or her) license.

    Telling the truth is thus to be made an offense!

    Meanwhile, abortion doctors are seeking a “First Amendment right” not to make state-mandated disclosures to their pregnant patients.

    1. I’m not a doctor or scientist myself, so I won’t presume to know what transgenderism “is” the way you do. But based on the evidence I’ve seen so far, it’s a bit more than a “wish”.


      has interesting research on the very negative and real health consequences of changing one’s sex.

      1. That is very interesting. Not surprising, but very interesting, thank you.

    3. I think your initial question is a good one. I think your interpretation of transgenderism is simplistic and stupid. Whatever it is and however it should be treated, gender dysphoria is a real thing. And I don’t see why it is so difficult for some people to grasp that people’s brains might develop in such a way that their biological sex might seem “wrong” to them. That doesn’t mean that they are actually the other sex. But it is a real phenomenon that can’t be solved by saying “you have a penis, so you are a man, so shut up”.

      I do think it is a mistake to treat is the same way as a sexual orientation. It seems like a much more pathological thing than being gay. Gay people are generally OK with their gender and sexual identification. But transgender people have something wrong. Even if society were completely accepting of them, they still have the internal conflict, which seems to lead to other psychological problems in most cases.
      I am far from being any kind of expert here, so I may be way off, but I think that transgender is probably better treated as a psychiatric condition than an alternative lifestyle. Of course, I think people should do what they want. But changing the mind seems less dangerous and more beneficial than radical body modifications.

      1. I once read an oppressed-transgender-teen story in which a girl, raised by a single mother, decided at four years ago that she was a boy – apparently trying to fill the gap in her life from the absence of men. When – surprise! – she needed psychological treatment as a teenage, a therapist gently suggested that she was actually a she. The article portrayed this is the worst possible oppression.

        1. I agree that stuff like that is pretty silly. I am sure that some young people who identify transgender do so because of some trauma or deficiency in their lives and I would be inclined to encourage them to wait until they are a bit more grown up to really commit to something like changing their sexual identity.

          I am also convinced that transgenderism is a real thing that happens developmentally for some people. It seems pretty plausible that some people’s brains would develop more like the brains of the opposite sex. There are lots of things besides genetics that can effect the development of people’s brains. Simply dismissing it as a delusion ignores a lot.

          1. If we’re talking *physical* differences which put you somewhere between the poles of the gender binary, then you need to talk to an actual expert about your condition – not a therapist who doesn’t know a gene from a T-shirt.

            I thought the population under discussion were people of one sex who “identify” with the other sex.

            And the idea being pushed is yanking the license of a therapist based on a *categorial* rule that telling the patient the truth and urging them to accept it is *per se* unprofessional.

            1. The point I’ve been trying to make is that we don’t really know who is just identifying with the opposite sex and who is genetically or hormonally hardwired in a way that doesn’t fit the standard gender binary.

              We’re just scratching the surface with how some of this stuff is wired neurologically and some research has indicated that unusually elevated hormones in utero can lead to basic morphological differences . Meaning some people could be genetically female but hardwired in a fairly masculine way.

              Polycystic ovary syndrome isn’t that uncommon and can cause very high testosterone imbalances in women. I don’t know how you’d test for elevated in utero testosterone exposure without resorting to modern phrenology.

              1. In that case, if the experts themselves aren’t experts, then the therapists aren’t experts either, and should stay off the subject one way or the other.

              2. Jesse, your link says this can happen in animals that have litters.

                That it might happen with dizygotic twins(though findings are inconsistent).

                That’s a huge stretch, don’t you think?

                1. Not really. I said we’re scratching the surface on this stuff. Animal studies are going to be a lot easier to conduct than human studies. We’ve seen the effect in animal studies but it’s not easy to suss out what someone’s hormone levels are across a pregnancy unless you have lab humans. There was an artificial hormone that women were taking to avoid miscarriages and women born were subtly more masculine and men were more likely to be left handed than those born without their mother taking the drug.

              3. There’s no such thing as being “wired” in the brains in a way that doesn’t fit the standard gender binary, because it’s not binary! Even the studies that find statistical differences in the brains between the sexes show such broad overlap that you can never say whether an individual’s brain is of one sex or the other.

                The only features of which there’s hardly any overlap are the ones we call sexual, because they’re pretty much gnomonic. Sure, you get an occasional intersex or doubtful case, but it’s perfectly reasonable ordinarily to classify an individual as male or female solely on the presence or absence of the respective sex organs, barring surgical alter’n.

            2. The brain is physical. Identifying as another sex might well be a physical thing in many cases, even if anatomically they appear to be a normal member of one sex or the other. That’s most of my point.

              FWIW, I agree that it would not be a good thing to punish therapists who suggest to young people with gender identity issues that maybe it’s just a phase that they will grow out of or to point out that anatomically they are not the sex they identify as.

              1. At least tell the boys that they can use the men’s room without denying their feminine side, and tell the girls that they can use the men’s without denying their male nature. That, at least, will spare them a good deal of grief.

                1. girls that they can use the ladies

                  Great, now I’m confused

          2. You blew your ‘argument’ out of the water when you said, ” I am sure that some young people who identify transgender do so because of some trauma or deficiency in their lives and I would be inclined to encourage them to wait until they are a bit more grown up to really commit to something like changing their sexual identity.”

            How can you claim any veracity to your “surety”?! Have you walked a mile in their shoes (or heels)? Have you discussed what THEY think or FEEL with, say, several hundred or several thousand TG folks?

            How many logical fallacies have you committed in that ‘discussion’ so far?
            It’s laughable for me… right ‘up there’ with “ok, when, EXACTLY did you DECIDE you were a Heterosexual and not a Homosexual?!”

      2. I’m going to go even father than you and say just leave them alone if they aren’t hurting anyone.

        Who cares if it is psychiatric or biological? If a biological man wants to go through life dressed as a woman, get a sex change, and take hormones that cause all sorts of negative health consequences, it’s really nobody’s business but that individuals.

        1. Who cares if it is psychiatric or biological? If a biological man wants to go through life dressed as a woman, get a sex change, and take hormones that cause all sorts of negative health consequences, it’s really nobody’s business but that individuals.

          Because of the ramifications for appropriate parenting and the state’s role, which you seem to acknowledge below.

        2. I’m not saying mistreat adults with such ideas – I imagine that many of them could lead productive lives as long as the people around them don’t say anything to “trigger” their obsession. Just as people lead productive lives while believing in socialism.

          The question is whether a therapist’s license should be automatically pulled whenever (s)he suggests to a teenage girl that she’s a girl, or to a teenage boy that he’s a boy, and recommends that they accept their real sex.

          1. they accept their real sex

            According to the APA as many as 1 in 1,500 babies are born that do not fit neatly into the male/female dichotomy. Until very recently SOP was to perform sex assignment surgery as an infant. Often times with consent given before parents were particularly well informed and sometimes it was just done because that’s what doctors do (gotta love the ’80s right?). But I’m glad that deep down you know what these people’s “real sex” is even though we’ve since found that these surgeries were often performed not based on genetic traits but on what surgery would be the easiest (usually a removal of an overly large clitoris and some tucking and sewing to make a handy vagina).

            1. so he knows the real sex for 99.933%. Whatever.

              1. Look at you with your math skills. But you’re still an idiot.

                It doesn’t matter of 99.933% of the population was born with standard issue genitals, it matters that there are potentially hundreds of thousands of people in the US who were assigned genitals arbitrarily by doctors and he has absolutely no way of knowing how many people currently seeking help to change their “real sex” are among that number.

                1. No, not an idiot. Simply snarkily pointing out that throwing out a statistic does nothing to help your argument. And I still don’t get why people have to call names instead of

                  a) actually reading and thinking about what they read.
                  b) responding intelligently.

                2. This is a very interesting issue – so therapists should perform their due diligence to see if their patient is among the 1 in 1500.

                3. there are potentially hundreds of thousands of women in the US who were assigned genitals arbitrarily by doctors

                  Women, Jesse, not ‘people’. You can’t do an FTM operation on a newborn.

                  And the operation in question that was done is one that one of the creators of this trans/multi gender madness approved of and performed.

                  And I can’t help but think that fucking with everybody by making invasive laws to ‘protect’ .067%–that’s sixty-seven thousandths of one percent–of the population is insanity writ large.

                  This is so tiny an issue that it can easily be handled on a case by case basis.

                  And the first thing that ANY doctor should be sure of, before recommending ANY surgical options whatsoever, is that it’s not just a phase.

                  1. Actually I have a cousin that was stitched up to be a boy but they found out later that he was biologically closer* to a girl, so “people” is still correct. He grows a scraggly beard, has a very nice girlfriend and has had to have multiple surgeries to repair piping so that he can stand to pee.

                    *The doctor actually declined to state that he was biologically a woman because, again, there are people for whom the gender binary does not work.

                    1. And, again, making invasive laws that affect everyone to ‘protect’ 67 thousandths of one percent of the population is insane.

                      It is a small enough fraction of the population to be dealt with on a case by case basis.

            2. I’m not quite sure you understood my point – I meant people of one sex believing they’re the other sex.

            3. How many transgender cases were hermaphroditic at birth, though? I’m sympathetic to the dysphoria crowd but less so for the subset of activists for whom reassignment at any cost is a goal.

              1. That’s hard to know. There were a few high profile cases where a tomboyish daughter eventually came out as transgender and the parents guiltily admitted that the child had been born boyish but ambiguous and the doctors had recommended a snip-and-tuck. Parents weren’t always made aware though and there are no hard statistics coming out of the ’80s on the issue. This is the same time period where doctors routinely told women that they needed a c-section, not because it was medically necessary, but because it was time-saving for the doctor. Medical ethics has improved somewhat since then.

                1. But while a C-section sometimes saves the obstetrician time, the snip-&-tuck you describe is just extra work for a doctor, and you can bet they’re going to bill that rather than throwing it in as a freebie.

            4. Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but it strikes me that the child’s chromosomes would still indicate one or the other.

              1. In some cases, yes, but not in all cases. There are chromosomal abnormalities that don’t fit a strict male/female structure.

                Don’t forget the hayday of sex-reassignment surgery was in the ’80s, which would be the adults you’re now seeing hit their 20s and 30s, and there wasn’t a ton of genetic testing in play then.

                In all fairness, I don’t know what percent of people who identify as trans were born with ambiguous genitalia. I just don’t have the numbers for that. I would guess the number is relatively high, but that’s mostly based on anecdotal evidence where that has clearly come into play. I don’t think there aren’t legitimately crazy people, or attention-seekers involved though.

                My concern is that as soon as this topic comes up everyone suddenly knows what’s dangling between someone’s legs and how their brains SHOULD be wired, and those assumptions may be correct in some cases, but radically wrong in many.

                1. Karyotyping, physical exam, hormone assays?who cares, when you compare them to the criteria “transgenders” give for thinking they’re of the opposite sex from what physical criteria say: They’re all cultural! They’re based on the way males or females are “supposed to” behave, or what they’re “expected to” like. It’s a totally un-sexually liberated way of looking at the world. Why can’t we just accept that male vs. female tendencies are just that, tendencies, not pass/fail standards? I mean, there are girls who have to be told to use soap too (see Hamster), & boys who don’t have to.

                  1. If I’m not allowed to make crass, puerile jokes about males, then fuck this place.

        3. I certainly don’t care. It is just my (amateur and fairly uninformed) opinion that if it needs to be treated, the standard of care should be to try to treat it as a mental and not an anatomical problem.

          If someone is happier identifying as another gender, it’s no skin off my nose.

          1. t’s no skin off my nose.

            Until mandatory epithelial transplants from cis heterosexuals to construct genitalia for transgenders becomes the law of the land. It’ll be gays v. bakers all over again.

            1. Not only that, but what about the anti-nose-circumcision movement?

    4. I imagine there are people who are absolutely convinced they’re another sex, just as strongly as we’re convinced when it’s daylight. But then, there are people convinced they’re Jesus or Napoleon.

      1. I don’t think there are many people who actually meet that description. As far as I know, transgender people don’t generally think they are literally and completely the other sex. They think that their minds and their bodies don’t match up in terms of sex. Which isn’t any kind of denial of reality.

        1. Ah, but the activists (I don’t know how representative the activists are) would like *other* people to pretend the trans folks are the other sex. Eg, ladies’ rooms and dress codes.

          So employers, business owners, etc. would be *required* to literally treat the person as the wrong sex, even if the person himself/herself doesn’t actually believe it.

          1. Well, I think you know that few people here will approve of requiring employers to make such accommodations.

            As with the gay marriage thing, obnoxious activists make it hard to have a reasonable discussion about this.

            For me it comes down to: people should do what they feel is appropriate. It is nice to be reasonably accommodating to transgender people. We don’t really understand how transgenderism works or what exactly it is, so let’s keep an open mind. And I don’t think (at the moment at least) that sex reassignment is necessarily the best course for most people with gender dysphoria.

            1. I was suggesting that if in fact they don’t believe they are literally the opposite sex, why do the activists purporting to speak in their name want others to act on such a belief?

        2. The belief that certain thoughts and feelings are permissible only for one sex is called “sexism”. Suffering distress because one’s thoughts and feelings don’t comport with their sex is internalized sexism. Using surgery and drugs to attempt a transexual “transition” is the most radical possible acquiescence to sexism.

          1. Yeah, so why are you, me, & just a few other people pointing this out? How could the “liberators” be so mindfucked that they come full circle & try to make the world believe the river should be lowered instead of the bridge raised?

    5. So let me see if I’ve got this straight.

      If you “feel like a woman” (whatever that means), but look down between your legs and see a magnum dong, it is fine to lop off that dong and scoop out a vag, but wrong to use talk therapy to convince yourself that you’re actually a man?

      1. Bingo!

      2. Is that the way the law would really work? Or would it only outlaw convincing the man he’s really a woman?

    6. Really, is this type of law supposed to outlaw the practice of convincing children they are of the sex they are? I thought it was supposed to make illegal the other way around, but if it’s as you say, that’s utterly bizarre.

  7. I would think it likely that a teenager with sexual identity issues may need help physiological help. I can’t see how laws that endanger a physiologist’s career would be beneficial to those seeking treatment. Would only enthusiastic encouragement of a troubled teens ‘queer’ tendencies be permitted?

    1. If so the teenager should be able to pick the therapist and the treatment.
      Not have to submit to some Christian anti-gay conversion therapy because that’s the only kind of therapy his parents want.

      1. You would trust a teenager to appropriately pick the therapist despite the fact that the teenager wouldn’t have picked the conversion in the first place? I feel like it has to either be all or nothing.

        1. Yes.
          I don’t think anyone, (the parents or the government) are better qualified to make judgements about whether the teens sexuality needs “treatment” or not, then the teen himself.

          1. That’s not my point. My point is if the kid already doesn’t want the therapy, how is letting him/her choose the therapist going to make any sense? It’s like choosing your own death penalty. And I think I just convinced myself that I agree with you XP

            1. The kid could choose a therapist that isn’t anti-gay. Maybe one that can just counsel him on how to deal with prejudice and against gays in school and from his parents.

              1. Not sure if you read the last sentence I wrote. It indicated that you changed my mind.

        2. This proposed ‘law’ would prevent a teen from seeking conversion therapy if that is what the teen wanted.

  8. My Aunty Mackenzie recently got a nearly new blue Toyota Venza by working part time online… website here ?????????????

    1. I knew your Aunty MacKenzie back when she was your Uncle Hank.

  9. To be fair, IIRC, the ban was on conversaion therapy for teens.
    I can certainly see why parents forcing their gay teenage son into “conversion therapy” could be considered child abuse. And kids under the age of consent might not be able to legally consent to something as potentially damaging as conversion therapy.

    I don’t think a federal ban is necessary, but I can see why many people feel it is something that should not be done.

    1. I think a child’s parent probably has a better idea of what is in that child’s best interest than the government does. Maybe not always, but usually.

      1. Personally I think the child should be able to make some decisions about what’s in their best interest at at least puberty.

        1. I wasn’t saying anything about the child’s choices. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about parents forcing their kids to do certain things after a certain age. I just think that the parents have WAAAAAYYY more right than the government.

          1. But in this case, the government might merely be enforcing the NAP against the parents intentions to inflcit harm on the child. The government certainly does have the right to enforce non-aggression.

            1. I’m not sure what argument can be made that making a kid go to gender therapy classes is any different (with regards to parental rights) than making a kid go to ballet lessons or baseball practice. I mean, you can force the kid to like it or to perform at a high level or whatever, but I think parents need to have general control over their children up to a certain point.

              1. than making a kid go to ballet lessons or baseball practice

                Should you have the right to FORCE your kids to go to ballet lessons or baseball practice?

                1. Should you have the right to FORCE your kids to go to ballet lessons or baseball practice?


                  1. Why not? You’re forced to “keep them alive” and “pay their bills.”

                    1. ou’re forced to “keep them alive” and “pay their bills.”

                      Someone made you have kids? That really blows.

                    2. If you want to go back that far sure. I guess in return for feeding, clothing, and raising I kid, I somehow get to decide whether they play baseball or wear a sweater when it’s cold out.

                    3. That kid didn’t ask you to feed or shelter it, or to live with you at all. You presumed it wanted any of that. You might be able to make some poor kid you forced into existence suffer more than it inevitably will anyway, but that doesn’t make it your right to do so.

                    4. Well if that’s your argument I guess we can just pop a kid out and then abandon it. I think you and I are gonna have to agree to disagree.

                    5. I somehow get to decide whether they play baseball

                      No wonder so many kids hate their parents.

                      My mom let me choose the things I wanted to do – what a monster.

                    6. If you don’t want to feed and shelter a child, don’t reproduce. The fact you chose to assume that burden doesn’t grant you the right to compel another person to become a ballerina against their will.

                    7. I didn’t say they have to become a ballerina, just that I can tell my kid to get in the car and go to practice. Geez, parents need to be allowed to raise their children. Children can’t take care of themselves or make good decisions up to a certain age.

                    8. 1). In most cases you aren’t actually forcing your kids to go to practice. They complain, but they’re not actually resisting.

                      2). Even within the bounds of the NAP, you have a wide variety of methods for negotiating voluntary participation (e.g. if you don’t go to ballet practice, you can’t use my x-box for two weeks).

                      3). Going to ballet isn’t necessary for the kid to survive. They will still reach adulthood even if they never have a single dance practice the entire first 18 years of their life.

                      4). A lot of adults don’t make good decisions, that doesn’t mean you have the authority to force them to choose correctly.

              2. I’m not sure what argument can be made that making a kid go to gender therapy classes is any different (with regards to parental rights) than making a kid go to ballet lessons or baseball practice.


                1. Of course seriously…

            2. The problem is defining harm, and deciding what level of harm has to be met for the state to get involved. The further trouble is trying to quantify psychological harm. I think the “everyone gets a trophy” crowd psychologicaly harms children, but I don’t think those people should be thrown in jail.

              1. Sure, but “everyone gets a trophy” isn’t administered in one-on-one sessions with a trained professional whose job it is to fuck with your head.

                I have no doubt that some kids go through conversion therapy unharmed. Others may be emotionally traumatized for life.

                1. What if the therapy actually helps the children? Who are you to say that your opinions are better than the actual child’s parents’ opinions. I mean, they’ve been with and raised the kid for it’s entire life. You’re just generalizing based on your personal beliefs.

                  1. Who are you to say that your opinions are better than the actual child’s parents’ opinions.

                    I hate to say this, but I think briannnnn hs the stronger position here.

                    If the government can dictate the parents’ choices with regard to therapy, what other parenting decisions do they have a right to arrogate.

                2. What about dragging them to church?

              2. I think the “everyone gets a trophy” crowd psychologicaly harms children, but I don’t think those people should be thrown in jail.

                But — no trophies for *them*, right?

              3. I agree with Dark Lord. When I was a teenager, there was some hushed talk amongst the girls about parents potentially forcing a girl to have an abortion.

                THAT is real harm. Therapy, even Christian therapy, does not compare.

                1. Woah woah woah woah, you’re saying that forcing a child to kill her baby is more harmful than forcing a child to talk to a therapist!?!?!? PREPOSTEROUS!

                2. “I agree with Dark Lord. When I was a teenager, there was some hushed talk amongst the girls about parents potentially forcing a girl to have an abortion.”

                  Still goes on today and I know a kid that was really fucked up because of it.

  10. Still don’t get why people who are merely sexually attracted to the same sex choose to identify alongside a group of people that simply refuse to accept the biological reality of their anatomies.

    1. It’s simple politics – attach your cause to some other, more fashionable, cause, and hope the general public doesn’t notice.

      1. Oh I get why the trannies wanna be lumped in with the ascendent gay movement, I just don’t get why gays are so eager to let them add the T to their ranks.

        1. I can guess – they don’t want to “treat the trans the way society treated us.”

          1. That would justify lumping themselves in with bipolars and anorexics.

            1. I don’t think logic is really an activist’s strong point.

              Writing “NO HATE” on placards, waving those placards in demonstrations…well, that kind of exhausts the list of their political skills.

        2. Numbers maybe?

    2. The same reason every victim group in America tries to draw some tenuous link between African-American slavery and themselves (most notably and most crassly, Gay is the New Black and Patricia Arquette’s whole “It’s time for you blacks to stand up for rich white women the way we stood up for you!) You pick out people who have been undeniably oppressed or wronged, and then you try to conflate the wrongs, real or imagined, done to your group with the first. It’s why so much of First- and Second- Wave Feminism contains the same language that the Abolitionist movement used in combating slavery.

      Because it worked.

  11. What sort of slippery slopes could deeper federal regulation of therapeutic practices lead to?


  12. It is not at all clear at all that, in the case of transgender, conversion therapy works any better *or worse* than any other form of treatment. It is less harmful to the body than surgery to change one’s genitalia, and roughly as good/bad as any other form of treatment for mental illness which impairs the person’s ability to perceive reality correctly.

    There is no reason to treat this issue any differently from how other mental health issues for minors are treated.

    1. which impairs the person’s ability to perceive reality correctly

      Wait, has it been proven that we’re definitely not all living in a computer simulation? NO ONE TOLD ME!

      1. Until and unless proven otherwise, it is probably a good idea for you to continue acting as though there is an empirical reality outside yourself which corresponds to your sense-data. Even from a subjective point of view, there is no particular reason to cause mental anguish to oneself by acting in a manner which ignores this sense-data.

        Those who choose not to live in such a way often cause harm — to themselves, if one does not acknowledge the existence others, and certainly to others if one does.

        This generality applies to the specific case of transgender issues, where outcomes suggest that contradicting one’s own sense-data RE: gender is a terrible idea.

  13. Interesting that “It took decades of cultural interactions, explorations, investigations, and activism to reverse this default position.” Is that a standard practice for declassifying something as a mental disorder. Would like to see citations for current research and clinical literature that verify that declassification. Or is there any?

    1. The whole thing is quite arbitrary. A “mental disorder” is more accurately described as “a group of symptoms commonly seen together in individuals”. Where the lines get drawn and for what reasons is mostly political. Treating the DSM as just the mental health equivalent of Linnaeus’s taxonomy is fallacious (not to mention, biological taxa have political aspects as well).

      But this goes both ways. Just because a person exhibits a group of symptoms characterized as a mental disorder in the DSM doesn’t mean the government or other people can abuse them. All we can do is respond to behavior but behavior that does not harm others should always be left to the individual’s discretion.

  14. Reparative therapists are snake-oil salesmen. A few of them are less unorthodox than this, some of them are considerable worse. Richard Cohen is actually a Big Deal in these circles.

    1. Certainly, a therapist who abuses his patients shouldn’t be a therapist any more – regardless of what condition (s)he purports to treat.

      I’m skeptical of these various schools of therapy, which AFAIK are based on nice-sounding ideas rather than rigorous peer-reviewed study.

      I was making a fairly abstract point that therapists shouldn’t *automatically* lose their license for telling the truth to a gender-confused person.

      If their therapy involves abusive practices, by all means smack them down.

    2. In the case of sexuality, sure.

      In the case of gender/sex identity, it is far less clear to me that therapy which aims towards reconciling one’s sense-data about gender with one’s will/psyche is a bad idea at all.

      In fact, such an approach is well in line with what psychology and physiology already attempt to do for their patients in other areas of life.

      1. The conflation of sex and gender is pervasive, and ironically seems to be strongest among the people who scream “sex is not gender!” the loudest. If you want to be feminine or masculine, then just be that way. Nobody is obligated to accept you, but amazingly most people are pretty tolerant. Why there has to be an alignment of sex and gender, whether it matches or contradicts your genetics, is beyond me.

  15. It’s curious how many “libertarians” seem to enjoy the idea of treating their children like chattel.

    Forcing your kid into snake-oil conversion therapy with some Christian dipshit is not like making them wear a coat when it’s cold outside, and you domestic tyrants fucking know it.

    1. But there’s more gray area. Taking your kid to a therapist because you think they have a legitimate psychological disorder is not like throwing them down a well either. I think some parents make the wrong decision and go much to far with something like this, but who are you (or me or anyone else for that matter) to tell a parent that they can’t possibly have their child’s best interests in mind when they legitimately believe that this therapy is what’s best?

      1. I don’t want this banned. But do I want anyone who does it to their poor kids mocked until they hemorrhage internally. It’s dumber than Scientology and faker than homeopathic drugs.

        1. Then we are in utter agreement. Yes, it would have been retarded for Brian Boytano’s parents to look at him and say “honey! I bet we can fix this!”

          1. Did you know that Brian Boitano didn’t ‘come out the closet until 2013’?

            i KNOW?! I

            1. (Sorry, it was cut short…)

              The shocking revelation

      2. There are parents who think they “have their child’s best interests in mind” by denying them medical treatment for curable diseases.

        1. true. but “negligent homicide” is a crime, and bad parenting is not.

          1. I’m not so sure that deliberately fucking up your kid’s head with psychobabble isn’t a crime.

            1. What you call psychobabble. I think it’s arrogant to believe that you know what’s best for someone else’s child.

              1. We’re not talking about bedtime or clothing choices.

                I know you can’t cure gay. I believe that trying to do it causes actual harm.

                1. “I believe that trying to do it causes actual harm.’

                  Then don’t do it to your kids.

                2. You know you can’t cure gay? Wow you’re arrogant.

                  1. By empirical evidence. I have never seen one single instance of a successful conversion. Can you refute that?

                    1. I’m not trying to. I’m saying that it’s an absolute. I try to avoid absolutes.

            2. ‘Rhywun|2015/04/09 13:49:30|#5218380

              I’m not so sure that deliberately fucking up your kid’s head with psychobabble isn’t a crime.’

              What is parenting again, exactly?

              And how fast do you throw every single libertarian idea under the bus when it comes to ‘other people’s kids’?

              1. I wasn’t aware that being concerned about parents harming their children is unlibertarian.

                1. Who gets to define where the harm is, again?

                  1. Not me, you’re right. I assume doctors and courts would have something to do with it.

              2. What is parenting again, exactly?

                Coercive and thus inherently unlibertarian?

                1. You’re just jealous because you were never thrown down a well.

        2. That is true…and have literally nothing to do with what I said.

          1. If you’re going to go by the standard of “the parent has their child’s best interests in mind” sure it does.

            1. I’m sorry, I’m confused. You think it is possible for a parent to have his child’s best interest in mind when throwing him down a well?

              1. Where the fuck did I say that? You’re not worth wasting any more time on.

                Good day.

                1. Sorry, that was someone else. You were the medical treatment guy. And taking your ball home in a huff is always the best way to show how confident you are.

      3. “Taking your kid to a therapist because you think they have a legitimate psychological disorder is not like throwing them down a well”

        well I just want to say that my dad throwing me down a well was a valuable learning experience, in retrospect. Made a man out of me!

        Plus, all that loose change was an unexpected bonus.

    2. Forcing your kid into snake-oil conversion therapy with some Christian dipshit

      Doesn’t the “snake-oil” phrase refer to something that doesn’t work? So, where’s the damage? Listening to some “dipshit” talk is what occurs to most people during a large portion of their lives.

      1. Usually not in the context that they are broken and having Jesus smeared all over them will fix them.

        You are a fucking asshole if you do this to your kids. I don’t care about your intentions or that Pastor Bob the Pedophile told you it was the only way to get into heaven; forcing useless therapy on your kids makes you a grade-A fuckwad.

        1. I’m with Sug here. Conversly, I forget who it was, but recently a gay parent in a gay marriage with a little kid siad they really wished their straight kid was gay. Would it be okay for them to hand the kid over to Dr. Slave in order to convert the kid into a queer?

          1. If that’s what they thought was best. I mean, if people are so damn sure that you can’t pray away the gay (or pray in the gay I guess) then what does it matter?

          2. That was Sally Kohn. Sally has said a number of idiotic things recently. She’s really on a roll.

        2. Usually not in the context that they are broken and having Jesus smeared all over them will fix them

          That’s funny, because if you grow up and have christian parents this is pretty much the norm. So, the majority of parents are grade-a fuckwads

      2. It’s difficult to argue the no-state-intervention position here. I don’t know whether I’m agreeing with someone who feels the same, or agreeing with a hairy trollish jackass.

        Being the new kid blows.


        1. “It’s difficult to argue the no-state-intervention position here”


          Scott didn’t seem to have a problem with it.

          also = people who think that “gay conversion therapy” is the *worst* thing parents can do to kids? Didn’t have parents and must have grown up in a test-tube.

          All parenting is horrible and full of retarded shit. that’s what its all about.

          1. Why?

            I don’t know whether I’m agreeing with someone who feels the same, or agreeing with a hairy trollish jackass.

            Agreed on all points. When we start discussing, in all seriousness, making laws about parents being dickbags, I must object. It would be catastrophic on a scale progs have heretofore only been allowed to fantasize about. While also curing no dickbag of his douchery, ever.

            1. “When we start discussing, in all seriousness, making laws about parents being dickbags, I must object.”


              to me, as fucked up as parents are (and they’re all fucked up), they’re completely free to fuck up, and kids are free to run away from home.

              “in loco parentis” can quickly become the excuse for almost any kind of usurpation of people’s freedom. Hell, the left wants to call “homeschooling” child-abuse. or rather, forget “wants”…. they already do.

              1. False dilemma. It’s not a choice between “the parent makes all the decisions” and “the state makes all the decision”. As I said, the children have rights too, and it’s not statist to allow them to enforce those rights.

                So there should not be a law banning conversion therapy, but if you force your 17 year old to attend conversion therapy against their will, they should have a cause of action against you.

                1. So, how about all those times my father was such a prick? There was the one Easter when I got a diminutive box of chocolates and my sister got a basket taller than she was. Or my 22nd birthday, when he gave me a card and the bill for my car insurance. You know what my sister got for her birthday that year? A seven thousand dollar horse.

                  How about the time my father objected to me going to Homecoming with a specific boy, because said kid’s date the previous year was a black girl?

                  I’d like to know how much I can get from the bastard for the horseshit he pulled. Does it matter that I’m neither gay nor transgendered, or is the important thing that my father is a fucking cunt?

                  1. Until your father turned out to be a racist I was about to ask if we’d grown up in the same household.

                    My favorite birthday was when I got a handful of random items from the RadioShack sale basket because my parents had forgotten my birthday 15th. I REALLY needed that rechargeable emergency flashlight. My sister had a month worth of events for her birthday that year.

                    1. It was my ninth birthday. They finally cottoned on when my mother asked me why I was still hanging around the house in my good church dress, and I said I wanted to look nice for my party.

                      “Party? What par-…. Shit.”

                      Even at nine years of age, I was all: *narrows gaze* You call this being parented?

                      I have decided you are my long-lost cousin, the sole family member I have who is an enjoyable, thoughtful person instead of a stain on humanity’s soul. We should barbecue.

                    2. Welcome, Hamster of Doom. You sound like my kind of people.

                      Shall I tell you aout how my youger sister got a icycle afull year ahead of me, or how she threw a temper tantrum in the Canadian Tire the next year when my dad ought me one, until he ought her a SECOND one?

                      Or shall I tell you aout how she got a Cabbage Patch Kid, pre-ordered six months in advance for Christmas, and I had to eg money to purchase a cheap knockoff at the drugstore?

                    3. My sister may have started out as a delightful human being. We’ll never know, as she was encouraged to become an insufferable bitch who hates the world for breathing her entitled air.

                      I hope your sister escaped.

                    4. My sister may have started out as a delightful human being. We’ll never know, as she was encouraged to become an insufferable bitch who hates the world for breathing her entitled air.

                      One of my siblings ended up a good parent only by watching my parents fuck up our younger siblings royally and doing basically the opposite. The sister is still impressively entitled and controlling, but isn’t putting it on her kids.

                    5. What’s wrong w your “b” key?

                    6. I meant HazelMeade’s “b” key @ 4:15 P.

                2. “if you force your 17 year old to attend conversion therapy against their will, they should have a cause of action against you.”

                  Is he supposed to borrow the money from dad to pay for the lawsuit?

  16. We should welcome a world where everyone loves their gay children unequivocally, even when they’re not gay. Yet.

  17. Also worth noting =

    what about hormone therapy for “trans” children…before they’ve even hit puberty?

    There were at least a couple of cases i’ve heard about since 2012, where parents seemed to be the ones pushing for allowing interventionist medicine to prevent the onset of their “so-called” biological development into their actual gender. not that the kids were opposed, but does a 9 yr old really have complete perspective on their own best interests?

    1. Would that not count as conversion therapy, as it does involve converting to another sex?

      1. Thank you for noting.

        the whole question is, are we for allowing parents to have a say at all?

        – and what’s the difference between ‘supporting’ a child’s ostensible gender-bending, or ‘opposing’ a young child’s ostensible orientation… if ‘harm’ can be caused either way?

        Pick your poison. I’d say the rule of thumb should be ‘leave kids alone until puberty’ because any kind of active intervention beforehand is likely to screw something up.

        but then who’s going to dictate that to the parents?

  18. Parents drag their kids to therapists for all sorts of reasons – even in response to real problems.

    This doesn’t mean that the therapists know what they’re doing.

    And I suppose this applies to trans kids as well.

    I would say the way to deal with our eccentrics is the American way – don’t define people by their eccentricities or illnesses, but deal with them in those areas where they can work constructively.

    If they’re totally around the bend, but aren’t harming themselves or others, no need to hassle them – be like the people of San Francisco with the “Emperor Norton” – accept him into your community and nod as they explain their ideas.

    1. Howard Hughes made a billion dollars but was, uh, eccentric. Of course, the billion dollar part helped cushion the damage.

      1. Lincoln was melancholic, Churchill was a drunkard, etc., but they worked around these problems.

        1. Coolidge liked to run down Pennsylvania Avenue wearing nothing but his hat.

          (I’m going to see how many people repeat this rumor before I admit I made it up)

          1. You’re thinking of Boris Yeltsin.

  19. I don’t know if anyone brought this up, but the government does typically step in medically if the treatment does more harm than good or is bogus. Wouldn’t this type of therapy fall under harmful or bogus medical treatment?

  20. I don’t think many of you are quite prepared for the freewheeling libertarian utopia you claim to want.

    1. Better to just kill all the degenerates before things get too complicate, right comrade?

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