Cathy Ruse is Senior Fellow for Legal Studies at Family Research Council. This article appeared in The Stream on December 14, 2017.
New York City Council just barred adults from getting the sex therapy they seek — unless it agrees with the personal views of members of the council.
The ‘Politically Correct Express’
Earlier this month, councilmembers passed a law banning professional therapists from counseling focused on changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. They added a huge exception to the law, however. The exception allowed the therapy as long as it’s aimed at “exploration and development” of a homosexual identity. It was also allowed for changing from sex-at-birth to a transgender identity.
In New York City, this train goes only one way. The Politically Correct Express.
Now it’s illegal to provide therapy “that seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation.” It’s also illegal to provide therapy “that seeks to change a person’s gender identity to conform to the sex of such individual that was recorded at birth.”
But it’s still legal to offer counseling that “provides assistance to a person undergoing gender transition.” It’s also legal to offer “counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person’s sexual orientation or facilitates a person’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development.”
Private Therapy Politics
Playing politics with the private therapy choices of grown adults is not only obnoxious. It’s harmful.
Consider a heterosexual married man who may act out sexually with other men when he’s drunk or on drugs. He wants to stop. He wants to save his marriage. But can he? All that’s left to him is counseling to “accept” a homosexual lifestyle.
Consider a lesbian who has transitioned to live as a man, but is not happy. Can she seek therapy to change her gender identity back to female? Not any more. But she’s free to seek help in “exploring” other identities or in “coping” with her male identity.
Other states have banned therapy for minors who want to seek help for unwanted sexual attraction or gender confusion. Is this a good idea? There are many recent articles from therapists reporting on cases of rapid onset gender dysphoria in teen girls. This is reminiscent of the anorexia crisis 30 years ago. The stories are tragic, and to cut off the lifeline of talk therapy for these girls is cruel and senseless.
No Politically Incorrect Talk Therapy
But no governing body has banned adults from obtaining the counseling they desire. Until now. Now there is politically incorrect talk therapy that must not be allowed.
The City Council’s background report is riddled with half-truths, fake science, and lies. A key component of the report includes nightmarish therapy scenarios. The problem is, these Christian torture camps for gays have never been found.
The paper links to the claims of one Sam Brinton, who claims to be a victim of a torture camp. Brinton’s story was so shocking that even pro-gay researchers tried to verify it, and couldn’t. Noted gay rights advocate Wayne Besen says it would be “grossly irresponsible” for gay groups to use Brinton’s story.
The underlying claim that gay attraction or transgenderism can never change is also false. It’s fake science. Gay-friendly scholars like Professor Lisa Diamond say that sexuality is fluid, especially in women.
There are profound constitutional issues involved here, of course. Not the least of which are the free speech rights of counselors and their would-be clients.
And isn’t this new law a perfect example of government getting between a patient and her doctor? Where have we heard that before?
The “helping professions” may not help the man who wants to save his marriage — better that he lose it. Or the woman who wants to live as a woman — let her live as a man.
Because New York politicians know far better than you do how you should help yourself.