500 signatures reached
To: Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, Iowa House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow, Iowa Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix
Ban Conversion Therapy in Iowa!
Legislation (HF93 & SF74) has been filed in the Iowa Legislature to ban the harmful and prehistoric practice known as conversion therapy. This dangerous practice results in the abuse of children under the guise of "fixing" their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, Iowa House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow, and Iowa Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix all have the power to bring this legislation forward.
Why is this important?
All people deserve the right and liberty to be who they want to be. In Iowa, there are medical practitioners who do not share this belief and still practice an outdated and prehistoric treatment harmful to our youth.
One of the most dangerous medical therapies practiced against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community is conversion, or reparative, therapy. This therapy is an outdated exercise that subjects individuals to abuse in an effort to change sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The manipulation includes institutionalization, castration, physical and sexual abuse, and electroconvulsive shock therapy. All of the nation's leading medical and mental health associations have long rejected the practice and said it is ineffective and dangerous, including the American Medical Association, American Counseling Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
It is estimated that one in three LGBTQ people have been subjected to conversion therapy. Many are forced into it by their families who do not accept or understand their LGBTQ identity. According to a 2009 report by the American Psychological Association, results of this abusive therapy include depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, substance abuse, stress, self-hatred, and a dramatic increase in suicide risk.
Individuals who have been subjected to conversion therapy and do not commit suicide are called survivors.
In a highly publicized case from the early 1970s, psychologist George Rekers treated a 5-year-old boy named Kirk Murphy, who had exhibited stereotypically feminine behavior such as a preference for girls' toys. Rekers instructed Murphy's parents to reward him for exhibiting "masculine" behavior and to punish him (by ignoring or even spanking him) when he displayed "feminine" behavior. Rekers claimed this treatment would prevent Murphy from "becoming gay." Later, Rekers published an article citing his treatment as a success. Even though Murphy came out years later, Rekers and other proponents of conversion therapy continue to use Murphy in an effort to deceive families and entrap clients struggling with the stigma and discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community. Murphy struggled with the severe psychological distress caused by Rekers's "treatments" throughout his life. He attempted to take his own life in his teens and at age 38 committed suicide.