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Local News

June 21, 2014

LGBT community bristles against GOP ‘reparative’ therapy

BEAUMONT — Electroshock therapy. Infiltrating a patient’s veins with a drug to induce vomiting, while she is forced to watch same-sex intercourse or view provocative photos of a member of the same sex. Forcing her to then attempt sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex.

It sounds like an episode of “American Horror Story.” In fact, this scenario was used in an episode “American Horror Story: Asylum,” the second season of the hit FX anthology series.

It’s also closely related to the latest addition to the Texas GOP platform — the use of “reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle” — says Garrick Harden, Lamar University assistant sociology professor.

In the “American Horror Story” episode, a psychologist uses “aversion” and “conversion” therapy in an attempt to turn a lesbian straight. While many viewers see such therapy as inhumane — and most certainly conjured by a deranged TV writer — this method was actually used during the 20th century.

A gay or lesbian patient — either voluntary or as recommended by an overseeing mental health institution — would undergo aversion therapy in which they would receive electroshock treatment and/or vomit-inducing drugs while viewing same-sex pornography, followed by conversion therapy — the viewing of naked genitalia from members of the opposite sex, working up to heterosexual sex.

It’s an uncomfortable image — one that is nothing in comparison to the psychological trauma these real-life patients endured, Harden says.

Harden says this is, exactly, the methods of treatment the Texas GOP is trying to bring back to modern medicine, under the “cloak” of reparative therapy.

“The whole concept of reparative therapy comes from the psychology community,” Harden says. “It began in the early 20th century and ran up until 1973 when the American Psychology Association took it out of their diagnostic manual, because they realized that homosexuality was not, in fact, a disease.

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