Author Peter Gajdics on Conversion Therapy

Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Humanist Voices
Published in
7 min readJan 28, 2018

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Image Credit: Peter Gajdics.

Peter Gajdics is the author of The Inheritance of Shame: A Memoir. He can be found in Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. Here we talk about conversion therapy and his own experience with it.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is conversion therapy?

Peter Gajdics: “Conversion therapy,” also known as “reparative therapy” or even “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE), really took hold in direct response to the burgeoning gay rights movement of the early 1970’s, particularly after the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 decision to declassify homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. As gay liberation exploded over the next several years and gay people carved out their own place in history, taking great strides toward visibility and self-worth, in some cases legal vindication, the religious right advanced its own ideology of being “ex-gay” — that it was possible to sort of “pray away the gay.” Personally, I don’t really like this term, “pray away the gay,” since I think it reduces what is actually a traumatic experience to the sound of a joke, and the process of attempting to strip away a person’s core self and “convert” them into something that they’re not is anything but humorous: lives have been destroyed and even lost in the name of this kind of ignorance and outright…

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Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Humanist Voices

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen supports science and human rights. Website: www.in-sightpublishing.com