Last week, something good happened. Maryland banned gay conversion therapy for minors. Sadly, the good news crumbled upon recognition that Maryland is only the 11th state to do so. 

Gay conversion therapy amounts to the contemporary practice of brainwashed religious zealots inflicting a distorted sexual moralism onto individuals who don't ascribe to their dimwitted heterosexual code. Oddly enough, the practice is still legal in 39 states, one which calls for licensed “counselors” to teach LGBTQ minors that demons live inside them and then force these children to undergo rituals disguised as counseling sessions meant to exorcise those demons.

What exactly does this “therapy” look like? For Gabriel Nadeau, a Quebecer raised in a Christian community forced to undergo this “therapy” at age 12 (who told his story to CBC), it amounted to four people holding him down, forcing him to drink olive oil (can’t tell you why), and a priest screaming directly into his ear for 30 minutes in effort to contact and rid of the demonic “homosexuality spirit” inside him. Nadeau was forced to undergo it again at age 16. And a third time at age 18. 

Before he was forced to undergo this ritual, Nadeau already hated himself for being gay. Sometimes self-hatred just isn’t enough for healing. 

The Maryland House of Delegates voted 95-27 to pass the Youth Mental Health Protection Act, which declares “Being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming.” NBC News reports that before the vote, badass 27-year old Republican delegate Meagan Simonaire opened up about when admitting her attraction to both males and females to her parents as a teenager, they sought conversion therapy for her. Though she didn’t end up having to undergo it, the thought that she had to be “fixed” caused “significant pain, self-loathing and deep depression.”

Also, her dad, Republican State Senator Bryan Simonaire, was on the floor. And he voted against the bill. 

Apparently Mr. Simonaire, along with the 26 other naysayers, has no problem ignoring the fact that an ever-growing list of respectable health organizations, from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the American Psychoanalytic Association, has spoken out against the practice, discrediting it and deeming it dangerous, especially for minors. 

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law published a study estimating 700,000 LGBTQ adults have undergone conversion therapy. That’s the population of Denver, plus about 18,000, give or take. The study also estimates that 20,000 LGBTQ youth between 12 and 17 will undergo the torturous therapy before turning 18. Still. To this day.

<rant>It's still happening likely because sexually-repressed assholes indoctrinated by fundamentalist religious creeds and antiquated binaries of masculinity and femininity have nothing better to do than seek externally-validated prestige by climbing to positions of power and then exerting their fucked-up will onto people who might actually find happiness. We say so, because these assholes are really just bitter that their lives are so depressing and their sex lives so miserably stilted that they secretly desire everyone else to hate themselves at a fundamental level, just like them. They’re the kind of fundamentalists whose worldview was downloaded into their minds on Day One and anything that threatens their mechanical beliefs must be defined as inherently evil. They’re among the most close-minded fools to exist today, and they are still allowed — often encouraged — to harm children.</rant>

Sometimes it feels like we’re still living amongst the Puritans. Since they can’t light people on fire anymore, they just do all they can to mess them up from the inside out.  

[cover photo Greta Schölderle Møller via Unsplash]