One issue that I feel has come up a lot recently, particularly during the last presidential election, is conversion therapy and whether or not it is a good idea to send LGBTQIA+ people to them to be “cured.” The ultimate answer is no, we should not. Conversion therapy is an extremely mentally and emotionally harmful practice that can have negative effects on the individuals that go to them. The majority of queer individuals that go to conversion therapy go because they are forced to, not by choice. A lot of the time those that do go to conversion therapy do so because they have internalized homophobia or want to be considered “normal” and not face the hardships and discrimination that queer people face.
I have a friend that was forced into conversion therapy when they were younger because they came out as a gay. He had to attend the therapy once every week after school. He went to a Christian private school that told him he had to change his “disgusting sinner ways.” He would be assigned to read pamphlets that discussed why homosexuality is a sin, his “mentor” would sometimes pray over him and make him watch videos where over and over again they would say “you are going to hell if you are gay.” He was even hypnotized during these sessions, sometimes making it difficult for him to remember what even happened. To escape this, he eventually began to comply and eventually no longer had to attend, but the damage was already done. He has several mental health problems and has even been driven to attempt suicide because of conversion therapy. Even now sometimes he will have nightmares and wake up crying in the middle of the night screaming that he is going to hell.
Conversion therapy is not something that is beneficial to queer people and its not something that is even proven to work. Those that say it does are blind to the fact that the individual that went to conversion therapy may seem “normal” and :straight,” but in reality they still have the same internal desires and thoughts that they had before they attended therapy. However, the only difference is now they are not portraying their “homosexual desires” and are keeping it internalized. It has been disproved countless times in studies and should honestly be banned at this point.