Friday, July 22, 2011

Who's the Barbarian? A Reflection on "Christian" "Ex-Gay" "Therapy"

Though he tried to deny it once he'd been exposed, Michelle Bachmann's therapist husband Marcus Bachmann has called gays (including gay children) "barbarians."

But you know what's barbarian to me?  It's the belief of "Christian" "therapists" like Dr. George Rekers--and all those of the Christian right who believe in the imperative need to make gay people behave like straight ones--that a four-year old boy who exhibits "confused gender identity and moderate cross-gender behavior disturbance" should be hooked up to a bug-in-the-ear device and told to count the number of times he plays with "boys'" and "girls'" toys.

What's barbaric is the belief of supposedly educated, sane adults that they are doing something fine and good by sitting around monitoring the "gender" of toys children are playing with, and inducing guilt and shame and crippling self-consciousness in a four-year old as he or she innocently plays with toys.  

What is wrong with these adults?!  What is wrong with adults who think it's fine and dandy to turn children into little lab experiments designed to reassure the adults, who are the ones preoccupied with identifying what toys are "boys'" toys and "girls'" toys, that all is right with the world and boys remain boys and girls remain girls?

What is wrong with adults who spy on a little boy playing alone in a closed room (since they have shut him up alone in that room), and who tell his parents to reward and punish him, to shun or praise him, on the basis of whether he plays with the "right" or the "wrong" toys?  What is wrong with adults who imagine they are doing God's will when they tell a mother and a father to deny affection to a son who exhibits "confused gender identity and moderate cross-gender behavior disturbance"?  So that the little boy treated in this barbaric fashion grows up to be a man who takes his own life . . . .

Barbaric gays?  The time is rapidly approaching when the barbarism of these "therapies" and others now practiced by "Christian" "ex-gay" therapists will appear to people of good sense and sound moral awareness as evidently wrong as the shock-treatment aversion therapy and emetic drugs of a generation ago to try to turn folks straight now appears to most of us.

The barbarism that needs to be cured in these stories lies somewhere else than in those innocent four-year olds playing with their toys.

No comments: