I know that hate-reading, as a practice, is probably not very good for one’s long-term happiness. But I think that examining right-wing publications can be useful—it’s good to know what the people on the other side are saying. It gets you out of your comfort zone. It strengthens your arguments. And it’s usually pretty hilarious.
I thought I’d share with you this particularly wonderful piece from the New American, a publication whose sole paid advertiser appears to be the John Birch Society: New Calif. Law Bans Counseling of Teens for Same-Sex Attraction.
Here’s how the article starts:
California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed controversial legislation making his state the first to ban therapy for minors struggling with same-sex attraction.
Which makes it sound like Jerry Brown is banning kids figuring out their sexuality from going to therapy at all, not specifically the kind of therapy where your parents pay someone to help you pray out your gay. It’s clarified in the next sentence:
As of January 1, 2013, explained the Associated Press, “mental health practitioners are prohibited from performing sexual orientation change efforts — known as reparative or conversion therapy — for anyone under 18.” In a statement Brown parroted the talking points of homosexual activists pushing the measure, arguing that such therapies “have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.”
But so either they’re being intentionally misleading, or gay conversion therapy is the only kind of therapy the writer of this piece thought gay kids might be urged by their parents to go to. Either way: terrifying. This sentence also brings us to the word “homosexual.” Conservatives LOVE to say homosexual.
“During debate on the bill, openly homosexual state assemblyman Ricardo Lara…” “Another openly homosexual legislator, Speaker of the State Assembly John Perez…” “The Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation’s premier homosexual activist groups…” “Another pro-homosexual group, Equality California…” “…as parents of individuals who have struggled with homosexuality,…” “I knew there were grave health risks to homosexual sex…”
The writer seems almost disappointed when a straight person says something, because they don’t get a special call-out for their sexuality. Also: assemblyman? Really? Not assemblyperson? Anyway, the article plods through all of the beats you’d expect from something like this. Accusing California of being socialist:
California is not a socialist state and our children do not belong to the government, subject to the ideology of the state over the objections of their parents.
Of our precious freedom being ripped away:
“Of all the freedom-killing bills we have seen in our legislature the last several years, this is among the worst,” said PJI president Brad Dacus.
Dacus said that PJI would file suit against the law “to defend families, children, and religious freedom. This unprecedented bill is outrageously unconstitutional.”
I was living in California and looking for help with same-sex attractions. My motivation wasn’t self-hatred or pressure from a ‘hetero-normative’ society. I believed what the Bible says and the church teaches: God made sexual expression for marriage between a man and a woman.
The single, sad comment:
If it is “junk science” and the “offenders” are offering their services for free, what’s the problem? It seems that the counseling must actually be working. And what of the homosexual’s recruiting efforts? Does the bill forbid them from proselytizing? I doubt it. Here is yet another example that homosexuality is incompatible with a free society. As Adams said, the Constitution is only for a moral people.
And that, to me, gets at the really stupid part of the piece. Here is the ending:
“Hundreds of people are telling us their counseling worked, they benefited significantly, it helped them feel better about themselves — and in some cases it even saved their lives,” said Rich Wyler, founder of People Can Change. He noted that while the voices of such individuals have been ignored “by pro-gay activists and mainstream media in favor of a more politically correct view … the experience of these men and women is real. It is valid…. Their voluntary choice to pursue change deserves respect.”
It’s like they are refusing to actually believe that the bill only applies to minors. Nobody is saying that adults can’t go to as much gay conversion therapy as they want. It’s stupid and self-destructive, but it’s your life. The bill is about teens being FORCED BY THEIR PARENTS to go.
Similarly, nobody is going to force you to get gay married, or have sex with someone you don’t want to. All anyone is asking is that you respect their choice to do so. Individual choices! That do not affect your life! It’s practically libertarian! For a group of people so obsessed with freedom and the Constitution, conservatives like this seem almost willfully obtuse when it comes to LGBTQ rights. Anyway. “Homosexual state assemblyman” Ricardo Lara, you win for this amazing quote:
“one of our number-one priorities in this house is to protect the next generation of Californians. And some of those are sissy boys. And some of those sissy boys grow up to be Assembly members. And some of those sissy boys need help. And we are here to stand with those sissy boys.”
Man, I bet the writers at the New American are pissed their editors won’t let them replace “homosexual” with “sissy boy” in the style guide. How come he gets to say it and we don’t? What is this, socialism?