Conversion Therapy

‘Gay Conversion Therapies’ to be banned as part of LGBT equality plan says today’s government plan, spearheaded by Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt.

This follows a similar idea (controversially) adopted by the General Synod of the Church of England last year.

There has been some profound reactions to the Church of England’s decision, including some from men and women who are attracted to people of the same sex and do reinforce that much of what is offered as ‘conversion therapy’ is clumsy, damaging and unhelpful, and that the better path is support and wisdom for people to live faithful and celibate lives, rather than ‘being changed.’

But there are double standards of the murkiest kind here, a startling hypocrisy and a sign that transgender dogma proceeds unquestioned and unchecked.

On the one hand, we are told that ‘Gay conversion therapy’ is immoral, doomed to failure and evidence of discrimination against people who are gay. That we shouldn’t shame people into trying to feel differently about their sexuality, but affirm it. That we shouldn’t seek to change the person that they really are.

On the other hand, the Transgender movement, who have welcomed today’s report, believe EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE, when it comes to changing gender. If a young woman feels that she is in fact a man, not a woman – essentially saying that the real me is different to my body, that to become the real me I must change who I am – then they will be encouraged to pursue and accept fundamental changes to the person that they are – physically, psychologically and personally. And the scale and ambition of these changes is far deeper than whether they are attracted to the same sex or the opposite sex.

So on the one hand we have a situation where someone who is gay and wants to feel differently (whether this is possible or not) is told that this is so outrageous and damaging to them as a person that it should be against the law. On the other hand someone who wants to change their name, their gender, their core self-understanding, their hormones, their actual physiology, their fertility, is ushered quickly into the queue for drugs and surgery. Yes, they are told, you can become the person you truly want to be by changing the kind of body that you have, the hormones coursing through your veins and the name on your birth certificate.

This looks like double standards. I don’t say this to defend gay conversion therapy, but to question the wholesale acceptance of a transgender philosophy that has so quickly taken hold, both here in the UK and in the US. Here are some things that should make law-makers look much more closely at the transgender movement, which is far more ambitious in its aims, damaging in its achievements and regretted by many of its disciples.

1] 80- 95% of children who express gender dysphoria – that is unhappiness and discomfort in late childhood or early adolescence about their gender – will come to identify comfortably with their bodily sex if natural development proceeds, especially if they are supported with counselling and acceptance.

2] Common-place transgender therapies are extremely intrusive – pre-adolescent children given puberty-blocking drugs which have long-term health risks and that may well interfere with the very developmental changes at puberty that normally help children accept themselves. That’s just the beginning. Then there’s the surgery.

3] There are substantially elevated rates of suicide and mental health problems identified in adults who transition to the other gender, even after hormonal and surgical transitioning. It is very dangerous to claim that this is the fault of an unaccepting and prejudiced wider society.

4] Transgender activists are far more single-minded, closed to contrary evidence and inclined towards co-ercion than all but the most crusading and zealous gay conversion therapists.

5] We hear very publicly from people, some of them Christians, who have experienced one or other form of gay conversion therapy and want to criticise it. I think we should listen very carefully to them. But I also think we should listen very carefully to the people who have been left deeply scarred by the transgender movement – why aren’t their stories told?

6] When you listen to those who have been through the process you will often (of course not always) hear that they were under huge pressure to transition, that there was an unwillingness to explore any underlying psychological issues that might be the root of the person’s dysphoria, that transition is offered as the only solution.

Listen to Carri Stella – ‘how many other medical conditions are there where you can walk into the doctor’s office, tell them you have a certain condition, which has no objective test, which can be caused by trauma or mental health issues or societal factors, and receive life-altering medications on your say-so?’

Listen to Max, who ‘de-transitioned’ – ‘I stopped because I found other ways of coping that worked better, did less damage and allowed me a higher degree of autonomy.’

Listen to the anonymous op-ed from The Guardian last year: ‘I had assumed the problem was in my body. Now I saw that it wasn’t being female that was stopping me from being myself; it was society’s perpetual oppression of women. Once I realised that, I gradually came to the conclusion that I had to detransition.’

Listen to Crash, addressing the medics that rushed her to gender reassignment; ‘You thought you were doing good but you were giving me tools to hurt myself.’

I would welcome the same scrutiny of the transgender movement and medical establishment as has been given to gay conversion therapies. To my mind this will reveal a mindset that is even more belligerent, self-righteous and unfeeling to the actual needs of those it purports to serve.

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