|Part of the series on|
|A baker's dozen on sex|
Reparative therapy is the notion that homosexuality and transgenderism can, and should, be "cured". Many reparative therapy "camps" are maintained where afflicted children may be sent by their parents to be "cured" of homosexuality: however, these re-education facilities amount to little more than non-fatal concentration camps. Many camps are deliberately located outside United States territory in order to avoid US jurisdiction and, ostensibly, circumvent US laws.
Transgender reparative therapy is occasionally practiced on children who display cross-gender behaviors, often by misguided professional psychiatrists who seek to, for example, get young boys to "drop the Barbie." Such efforts to force young children into society's rigid gender roles are eerily similar to the practices of gay "conversion therapy."
In the 1970s, the American Psychiatric Association reviewed its chief diagnostic tool, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. During this revision, the committee tasked with writing the manual eliminated homosexuality as a "mental disorder", primarily because they believed that it did not meet the standard of impaired functioning and in most cases did not hurt the self or others. Opponents of this decision seemed to think that it was based on pressure from the gay agenda that corrupted the APA. Thus, if the APA wasn't going to treat homosexuals as mentally ill, the religious right would.
Some "doctors" have equated reparative therapy with gender reassignment. The difference is that one issue is sexuality and that one is a gender issue; moreover, reparative therapy goes against one's natural instinct to be homosexual, while gender reassignment goes with one's natural instinct to be the opposite sex. One can just as easily set aside all these issues, and point out that gender reassignment patients need go through psychological therapy designed to keep them in their assigned gender unless medically necessary. If reparative therapy did not badger and force patients into treatment at all costs like gender reassignment therapy, then the APA never would have classified it as unethical treatment.
 Meet Richard Cohen
By all accounts, Richard Cohen would seem like a typical straight man; he has a wife and kids, and seems like an average everyday fellow. However, he is probably the most prolific "ex-gay" out there, and is a (self-proclaimed) "Certified Sexual Reorientation Coach." Although every major counseling organization has banned him (including other "ex-gay" groups), Cohen is probably the most prolific of them, and the most crazy. His basic theory is that gay people did not feel proper attachment to their parent of the opposite gender (or the same gender; actually, it seems that Cohen hasn't really thought this whole thing out), and are thus reaching out to people of their own gender in order to find that missing parental love. Despite not doing any real research into this matter, he manages to get on TV claiming to have found the "cure" for something which is not classified as a disease (except by certain sorts of people).
The techniques that reparative therapists use are quite varied, but have one thing in common: they do not work.
 Aversion therapy
Remember the time you threw up after eating your favorite food and then never ever wanted to have that food again, even if that food didn't cause your vomiting? That's aversion therapy. The way reparative therapists do it is to show you some hot gay porn, then make you drink ipecac. This might work, but it doesn't really "change" things; it just prevents behaviors, and in the end, all it may do is make you not want to watch gay porn. It should be noted that this also happened in A Clockwork Orange, and we all know how that worked out.
This one happens to be a Richard Cohen special. Remember, his theory is that gay men did not get the proper attachment from their dad; in order to treat this, Cohen himself will hug his patient, while the patient pretends to be a little boy and Cohen pretends to be his father. This is absolutely not an expression of repressed urges on Cohen's part, since he is not gay, and any gay feelings he might have are properly treated (see Hit Pillows below).
 Gender reinforcement
This is a slightly more "mainstream" form of reparative therapy, wherein gay men and women are forced to enact stereotypical gender roles. So lesbians will be discouraged from sports and similar activities, and instead be taught to sew, do makeup, hold babies (since all women want babies and sex is only for the creation of babies), and do other girly things. Gay men will be taught to act macho and do macho things, such as playing sports (since no gay men ever play sports) or building things (because only straight people work on construction sites).
 Hit pillows
This is another Richard Cohen special. Cohen does sometimes get gay feelings, and so he has to deal with them in a mature and adult manner. Thus, when he feels gay, he will take a baseball bat or tennis racket and smash it against a pillow, while screaming things like "Mom, why did you do that to me?!"
 Hang around with horses
 Famous ex-gays
This is broken down into two categories, those whom have "relapsed" and those who have not.
- Christopher Austin (got 10 years for sexually assaulting male clients)
- Michael Bussee (co-founder of Exodus International, one of the largest ex-gay groups; has since been a major critic of such groups and is now married to the other co-founder, Gary Cooper)
- Richard Cohen (though he doesn't admit that he's relapsed, he has taken trips to New York to cheat on his wife with men)
- Michael Johnston (founded the now-defunct ex-gay movement called Kerusso Ministries, contacted gay men online and attended gay parties where he had unsafe sex and "forgot" to tell his partners that he had HIV.)
- John Paulk (after being "cured" in 2000, went to a DC gay club to celebrate this fact with other gays. In 2013, he announced he had accepted himself, was divorcing his ex-lesbian wife, and apologised for promoting reparative therapy.)
 Stayed straight
 Laws violated
In theory, reparative therapy camps, even those outside of American jurisdiction, could be sued for torts committed against American citizens. First, it is a well-settled concept of jurisdiction that where a facility avails itself of the United States market, it can potentially (i.e., with a skilled lawyer) be sued in the United States. The basic touchstone of jurisdiction is foreseeability and fairness, and where a camp's population is 100% American citizens, surely it ought to be "on notice" of being covered by American laws. Venue would likely be proper in America following a forum non conveniens motion. From an American venue, a vast sum of torts - intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, battery, tortious negligence, and likely statutory crimes - could be levied against the camp, but, more importantly, an effective public relations campaign could be fought.
A cursory Lexis search shows that no litigation has yet erupted around the abuses occurring at reparative therapy camps, except the criminal prosecution in California of one member of Casa by the Sea, and a reporter investigating the same suing them for defamation and interference with contractual relationship with his publisher: apparently, Casa by the Sea does not like people knowing what's going on there.
In late 2012, California passed a law (SB1172) banning "gay repair" therapy on minors.
 See also
- Gay rights
- Primal therapy - claimed, at least in its early incarnation, to "cure" homosexuality along with a boatload of other "neuroses" by screaming them away
- Same-sex marriage
- Wilderness therapy - aimed at "behavior modification" for "troubled teens" in general, possibly has some overlap with reparative therapy.
- Corrective rape
- Gay Christian Movement Watch (Exposing the Unfruitful Works of Darkness) A "Christian" website that promotes reparative therapy while opposing any Christian who unrepentantly comes out.
- Beyond Ex-gay If you still think reparative therapy is for you, you may want to visit this website before going into "therapy."
- Current APA policy on sexual orientation
- Conversion Therapy Fails to Pray Away the Gay, Miller-McCune
- Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation, Judith M. Glassgold, chair (2009).
- ↑ Upon personal information, I know a young man sent to Casa by the Sea, a camp in Mexico. The man - then a boy - didn't see his reflection for a year (!), his education became nonexistent, and in other pertinent matters, was psychologically tortured and lost a year of his life. For a (comparatively) mild case, read this.
- ↑ Brief expose by Lynn Conway
- ↑ http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.html
- ↑ The Psychological Profession and Homosexuality: Lunatics Running the Asylum?
- ↑ APA Council of Representatives Passes Resolution on So-Called Reparative Therapy, UC Davis
- ↑ Childfree
- ↑ Gay Sportspeople
- ↑ Village People
- ↑ The Chaser's War on Everything season 2, episode 13 "Nut Job of the Week" segment. Originally aired on ABC1 on June 20, 2007.
- ↑ Pastor 'cures' gay teens by getting them to stroke horses, GayStarNews
- ↑ http://www.yawningbread.org/arch_2003/yax-337.htm
- ↑ http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2007/01/the-newly-refur/
- ↑ http://www.sovo.com/2003/8-1/news/breaking/exgay.cfm
- ↑ John Paulk, former Christan ex-gay spokesman recants and apologizes, Washington Post.
- ↑ Now closed (victory!). See the Wikipedia article.