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Monday, June 24, 2013

Lima beans and Gay Conversion Therapy – An Allegory


Hello again, darlings. I hadn't intended to post again so soon, but I literally could not resist. My attention was called to the fact that the New Jersey state assembly is to vote today on whether or not to prohibit ‘gay conversion therapy’ for minors. My reaction varied from happiness that this could put an end to conversion therapy for kids, to shock to hear that this was something still going on. How is this even a thing in this day and age? And why is it OK for someone, presumably a medical or psychological professional, to arbitrarily try to force a child to “become un-gay”? 





What's worse, I’m relatively certain that these medical types aren’t standing around on street-corners, watching out for ‘deviant behavior’ and rounding up little gay kiddies to do this to, all on their own. In most cases, I’m willing to bet it’s the child’s parents and/or guardians making these decisions – decisions that will at best confuse and, at worst, do immeasurable and irreparable harm.

“But Unicorn,” I hear you saying, “Not everyone is gay, or even LGBTQ tolerant. Some people think being gay is a sin, and should be ‘corrected’ by any methods required. They feel the end justifies the means, since – let’s face it – being LGBT or Q in today’s world isn’t exactly a walk in the park. They’ll be better off cured, and surely the ends justify the means.”

(Actually, if you’re saying that, you probably wandered into this blog by mistake. But you know what I mean. Someone could be saying that, somewhere...) So -

Let's take this in a direction accessible to most people. Say, for instance, that you hate lima beans. (I have nothing personally against lima beans. In fact, I’m lima bean neutral, probably more ‘questioning’ than anything else, or possibly 'lima bean curious'.) But you can’t stand them. That’s cool. It's a free country and you don't have to eat them if you don't want to.

Then some group of supposed-professionals decides that 'everyone who knows better' thinks that lima beans are the best food in the universe. Stupendous, superb, the nectar of the gods, and everyone should have lima beans three times a day, to the exclusion of all other foods. (Stay with me, here... This is how allegory works. We'll come back full circle by the end.) Well, those people are welcome to think that if they want to, but that doesn't change your opinion, right? Right. Fine.

But now let's say that group of people decides that anyone who doesn't share their opinion on what food is the most delicious is mentally and morally sick, so much so that they are incapable of realizing that they're sick at all, and they then decide that it's in the best interests of everyone involved to use barbaric methods of torture (which is really what aversion therapy is when you clean it up) to 'convert' those poor, sick, lima-bean-hating folks - like you. 

What I have to ask you now is this:

A) Is that fair? And, 

B) Do you really think that you will honestly grow to love lima beans...? Or -

C) Are you far more likely to pretend to like them to stop the punishment, while secretly dooming yourself to a life of never, ever again eating anything you like? 

Never, for the rest of your life, spending every day sickened by the food that you have to eat, and despising yourself for not loving it the way 'normal' people do? 

For not only not wanting those damned lima beans, but for daring to want something different to eat? 

Hating yourself for loving something different, something you must never, ever have, until - worst case scenario - you either starve yourself to death, or take a shorter way out, to avoid bringing shame and embarrassment on your friends, family and other loved ones for failing them in so ‘simple’ a way.

Do you eat the lima beans? Or (like the cake in the game), are the beans a lie?

(I'll give you two guesses and the first one doesn't count.) 

Yeah, sounds like a shitty idea to me, too. 

I dream of a day that I hope isn’t too far off now, when we’re all free to follow our hearts, to eat lima beans or not, by no one else’s decisions but our own.

--
Thanks for reading, darlings. And, as always, be fabulous to each other! 


3 comments:

  1. Your recent blog brought something up for me. Something that I'm working through. I described the reaction of coming out to my sister - where she thought suddently because I'm bi that she can't be normal or naked around me, as she's always been. I realized that I had no shame about my sexuality until that point. And that it was unfortunate she reacted that way, however, that is her issue - not mine.

    I've been hiding it since then though - lol.. in a closet. The problem with hiding things is eventually you get tired, and don't want to hide anymore.

    To be free is very important. I'm not sure how to 'come out" of even if it's necessary, but I don't think I want to feel ashamed of it. I don't want my woman friends, which I have many to feel "unsafe" around me either.

    I'm not one of those - I see a naked person and I go into fits of "I want them"..or something perverse. It's about who the person is - not their parts. Don't get me wrong. I notice things, as we all do, but I'm not all about the phsycical. lol.

    LGBT does not equal Perversion. It is sexual preference. To me, if feel it comes with birth. I believe I came in this way. I've aways been this way. It is not threatening. Just my perspective.

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  2. I saw the link to your blog from the California conversion therapy thread and found it a good read. I think anyone who writes as you do is liable to be someone I would welcome on my friends list.

    I've used a similar approach to the subject myself -- olives. I am completely unable to tolerate the flavor (I can detect even tiny fragments of olives and they will ruin the dish completely) and it utterly baffles me to think that some people actually like them. The idea of being forced to try and get used to eating them is enough to induce a shudder. It's unimaginable to me. I can't see how it would be anything but torture.

    In the best case scenario, conversion therapy is, as you said, a form of aversion therapy -- the idea of mentally associating negative reactions with a certain stimulus. For a person who is homosexual, being trained to suffer phantom negative feedback whenever they see someone to whom they would be attracted is the kind of thing you expect to read out a horror story. Such a person would be miserable for the rest of their life (and would have little incentive for it to be a LONG life).

    Yet oddly enough, clientele and members of Exodus International and other ex-gay groups and therapy centers keep coming forward to admit that their techniques don't really work and that they're still gay, suggesting that a lot of such places are more about creating the APPEARANCE of therapy than anything else. It's as if they realize that cruelty is the best they can offer as far as "treatment" goes, so they would rather offer placebos instead ("Pray a whole lot and God will take care of you if you believe hard enough") and pretend they're still accomplishing the end they publicize.

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    Replies
    1. Felix - I appreciate your feedback, and I agree with you. I keep hearing more and more of the people who formerly advocated those 'ex-gay' programs "coming out" (if you'll pardon the pun) and saying they really don't work at all... I hope more of them continue to do so, and that more people listen when they say it. That kind of horror-show is best left to the movies.

      Thanks for joining in the babble!

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