We need to talk about conversion therapy.

Content Warning – Conversion therapy abuse

In Australia and around the world lately there has been a whole lot of talk about conversion therapy. Often it is tagged as gay conversion therapy, especially in the media, but I am going to call it what it really is and that simply is conversion therapy.

This insidious out practice takes the form of official programs and an evil ideology that has some basic tenets to it.

  • You are broken
  • Your sexuality/gender identity is a choice
  • You need to be cured in order to be fixed

These are some of the ideas that are inherent in this ideology. There are others. In practice vulnerable people are put through a process of being told to believe they are broken and must be fixed. This often occurs during adolescence, especially for those whose sexuality is deemed broken by this ideology and its proponents.

Currently there is a film running called Boy Erased. It’s a hard watch but it needed to be viewed widely in order for the wider public to have even a small insight into this horrendous ideology and how it plays out in practice in a programmatic way. It’s not easy viewing and you will need tissues and a safe person or group to debrief with afterwards.

It is no small wonder that many people subjected to this ideology lose their lives to suicide as a consequence. It is that damaging!

Many will find this ideology unbelievable and struggle to understand that this happens in their country today. Well believe it because it does.

As I watched yesterday I was struck by a couple of things. Firstly the need for the wider community to see it in order to understand. Secondly, I was struck with the realisation that personally I had experienced this ideology first hand, continually and violently well before I was an adolescent.

It is no wonder that around 40% of trans people have suicidal ideation.

You see it is not just our faith communities that tell us we are broken and wrong it is a rampant attitude in the general public.

For me I guess it was double dosed. Both the faith community and the wider community portrayed an ideology that I am wrong, an abomination, a fetish, mentally ill and in need of repair.

The reality of my childhood for many is too shocking to comprehend. But somehow I survived it. I don’t know really know how or why but I did. A colleague recently described me as something of a unicorn, a thing that isn’t meant to exist.

I don’t really understand in some respects how I got here but I know as I emerged from the ideology of conversion therapy that I am the best version of me I can be, that being able to see myself not as broken but as a whole, unique, intended human person I am able to thrive.

I won’t go into the horror of my childhood except to say that I was taught imperatively and violently that I was broken, I was wrong, I needed be fixed, I could not be my true self.

By the time I was three years of age I had been violently brought into submission that my true self was unacceptable and would not be tolerated. The consequence was for the large portion of my life I loved a lie, a repressed life, a shadow of existence an existence where self belief was impossible trust in others confidence in me could not believed.

In short a life that was far less than it should have been.

This is the outcome of conversion therapy. Damaged vulnerable struggling people with no belief in themselves or trust in society and communities within which they move.

This is the outcome of conversion therapy. Innocent people that take their lives because of the damage inflicted upon them.

I consider myself lucky in a way. I found some people that helped to rescue me. I found strength to grasp to who I was and to somehow discover that no I am not broken but who I know myself to be internally and have repressed and hidden for so many years is not broken it is not in need of curing, but, it is in need of being allowed to come out, allowed to flourish, and in great need of being celebrated.

Please celebrate your LGBTIQA+ family and friends and colleagues.

Oh and as you understand this, understand too that conversion therapy ideology is rampant against Neurodivergent people as well. The same ideology that says as an queer person I am broken is the same ideology that says as an autistic person I am broken. Not only that but in any countries conversion/compliance therapy is the only funded and supported therapy for autistic people.

But this piece is not the place for a discussion of ABA therapy, that’s for another time.

For today, go see Boy Erased, talk to people, rise up against this evil ideology. Support survivors. Stand with the survivors of conversion therapy. Hug them, hold them and remind them that they were fearfully and wonderfully made.

One Transtistic Life

Thoughts and Ramblings of an autistic person