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Will New York flush conversion therapy?

Brad Hoylman sponsors bill to ban conversion therapy
Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

New York lawmakers may soon flush conversion therapy, thanks to New York State Senator Brad Hoylman. Hoylman’s bill, which hit the New York State Assembly yesterday, would outlaw conversion therapy for minors in New York. Conversion therapy is a form of psychological treatment designed to switch a youth’s LGBT sexual orientation to heterosexual. With the exception of New Jersey and California, conversion therapy still exists in most states.

While the American Psychological Association has stated that there is no proof that the therapy actually works, the damage this treatment can cause goes beyond the therapy’s ineffectiveness. The methods used can be downright humiliating.

Matthew Shurka, a man from Long Island who participated in five years of conversion therapy can attest to the ineffectiveness and damage inflicted by the treatment.

Shurka, as stated in an article posted on the NY Daily News.com, was instructed to watch heterosexual pornography and avoid contact with his mother and sister during treatment. Instead, Shurka was told to hang out with male pals, so he could model their masculine behaviors. According to Shurka, the therapy did not alter his sexual orientation. He stills feel emotionally damaged by the treatment.

For some individuals, the consequences of conversion therapy goes beyond psychological scarring, proving lethal. In the article “Op-Ed: Ending conversion therapy for LGBT youth” by Morgan McKay, McKay discussed the tragic story of Kirk Murphy. At the age of five, Murphy entered into conversion therapy treatment, prompted by his mother’s worries about Murphy playing with female toys. The treatment include sexual experiments and physical abuse to make the child less feminine. While Murphy’s therapist claimed that the young boy was cured after 10 months of therapy, Murphy was forever damaged by the cruel and inhumane treatment. Three years ago, Kirk Murphy committed suicide.

The American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the National Association of Social Workers are working to end conversion therapy, banning any of its members from using the form of therapy. In a world that is seeing more states legalizing same-sex marriage, Pennsylvania the most recent state to allow gay marriage, conversion therapy seems to directly oppose these steps toward LGBT progress. With millions of gay parents raising children and LGBT families gaining more rights and acceptance, this type of psychologically damaging therapy threatened these positive gains.

Readers, do you agree that conversion therapy should be outlawed? Please leave a comment down below.