Clever New Strategy to End Ex-Gay Therapy – July 21 Debrief

Hey guys, I’m in Berlin this week for Pride,
because even though June is over Pride doesn’t have to end. As always there’s been a lot of queer news,
so let’s dive in to another Weekly Debrief. — It’s been a rough week, with more attacks
in Chechnya, bathroom panic in Texas, and Trump nominating some anti-gay activists to
be federal judges. So let’s start with some good news: Rhode
Island just banned conversion therapy, the discredited belief that you can control your
sexual orientation through therapy. Rhode Island is only the eleventh state to
ban the practice. Despite being condemned by every major medical
organization in the country, despite having zero evidence of success, and despite overwhelming
evidence showing that it’s harmful, conversion therapy is still perfectly legal across most
of the United States. But even if it’s legal, LGBT organizers are
doing what they can to put practitioners out of business. The National Center for Lesbian Rights just
filed a lawsuit against a therapist in Berkeley who told patients for years that he could
cure their queerness. The details are particularly shocking: this
doctor charged one woman $70,000 to “de-lesbian” her, and pressured her to date his male clients. This lawsuit is an important test case. It’s been difficult to ban conversion treatment
in more conservative states. But bans might not be necessary if practitioners
know they can be sued for fraud. If the lawsuit’s successful, it could hasten
the end of conversion centers by making it too financially risky for them to keeping
charging people for snake-oil. Also this week, the Senate confirmed Trump’s
nomination of John Bush to be a federal judge. Bush has no previous judicial experience,
but he is a former blogger who used an anti-gay slur in a speech and supported the criminalization
of homosexuality. Trump also nominated Daniel Schiff to be a
federal judge — his best hits include writing that he was in favor of anti-gay bullying
in schools, and calling same-sex parents immoral. They’re not the first anti-gay nominees from
Trump, and they won’t be the last. But as federal judges, they’ll be in a position
to harm queer people for years, long after this administration ends. And things are even worse in Chechnya, where
new reports indicate the country may have ramped up the abductions and violence against
gay men even further. Specifics are hard to verify, since anonymity
is so important. But in addition to the new reports, this week
the Chechen head of state Ramzan Kadyrov said that gays “are not people” and that they needed
to be expunged from the country in order to “purify our blood.” In response, the US State Department that
they find the remarks “upsetting,” and … well, that’s it. No assistance for victims, no investigation,
no pledge to even broach the topic with Russian officials. But while the United States ignores the problem,
there’s an urgent need to evacuate victims of the violence. The Russian LGBT Network is taking the lead
on that work, and you can help — this week’s action item is to head to and
make a donation, or just subscribe to updates. And be sure to spread the word that the violence
is still far from over. With US officials still refusing to take action,
public pressure needs to continue. And as always, let me know your thoughts in
the comments and @mattbaume on Twitter. Keep an eye out for me at Christopher Street
Day in Berlin — and I’ll debrief you next week.

Michael Martin

7 Responses

  1. Good for Rhode Island! I've had friends kidnapped on their legal guardian's ok, tortured and tormented against their will. Those people are absolute monsters.
    Hey, trump, Mr "zero tolerance for terrorists"- the (fundamentalist)ruler in Chechnya threatened military action against anyone who opposed him, NUCLEAR action. Where's all that brass and sabre-rattling you showed off on the campaign trail? Putz…

  2. Was wondering if you will show up in Berlin after seeing you in all the other cities over the last weeks. Maybe I will stumble tomorrow then over you!

  3. Today is the 4th anniversary of the Murder of Dwayne Jones, a gay Jamaican youth who was murdered after attending a party wearing female clothing. Homophobia is still prevent in our world and you don't have to go all the way to Chechnya to see it.

    Would anyone here like to pay their respects to Dwayne Jones and all the other LGBT people who have lost their lives?

  4. Wait hold on,

    This is important if the therapist is trying to get her to take his mail clients that could actually just that alone can be grounds for him to lose his license

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