Guest post by @brazenqueer
I was raised in a conservative, fundamentalist Christian household.
From as early as I can remember, it was made clear to me that being queer was a sin, and that those who chose such a lifestyle were destined for hell.
Imagine my surprise then when, at the age of 13, I fell in love with my best friend. A girl.
I was terrified.
Terrified of God, terrified of hell, terrified of this thing that I fought so hard against but couldn’t rid myself of.
My terror only got worse when my mother found out less than a year later.
She blamed my best friend for “turning me gay,” banned me from ever seeing her again, and forced me to see therapist after therapist, hoping one of them would “cure” me of my Satanic affliction. I was even made to go to the infamous “Love Won Out” conference put on by Focus on the Family and the now-defunct Exodus International.
It is no exaggeration to say I was almost driven to suicide.
And I was lucky.
In some cases, so-called “conversion” therapy can go so far as to include electro-shock and other forms of “aversion” therapy.
Needless to say, it is a barbaric, inhumane practice that is most often forced on scared, vulnerable LGBTQ minors by their parents in an attempt to “fix” their child rather than confront their own bigotry.
So, I was elated to find out that the state of New Jersey is in the process of passing a bill that would ban conversion therapy from being practiced. A3371/S2278 boldly proclaims that, “Being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming,” and that, “New Jersey has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, and in protecting its minors against exposure to serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts.”
Governor Chris Christie has previously stated his opposition to conversion therapy, but has not stated if he will sign this bill into law.
Please take a moment to call the Governor’s office and voice your support for A3371, and urge him to sign it as soon as possible.
I am calling in support of A3371. As a supporter [or member!] of the LGBTQ community, I urge you to take this important step in protecting some of the most vulnerable, at-risk members of our society today – LGBTQ youth. Conversion therapy is harmful, not supported by any medical body, and has no place in the state of New Jersey.
The Governor’s office can be reached at (609) 292-6000.
You can also tweet the Governor at @GovChristie.
#LGBT kids in NJ need relief from damaging “conversion” therapies, @GovChristie. Sign #A3371 and show them NJ is stronger than hate!
Hey, @GovGhristie, please protect #LGBT youth and sign #A3371 into law!
NJ doesn’t let anyone bully them! So, please, @GovChristie, don’t allow the bullying of #LGBT youth to continue – sign #A3371 today!
Talk is cheap, @GovChristie. SHOW your opposition to so-called “conversion” therapy by signing #A3371 today! #LGBT
Let all kids in the Garden State bloom into the unique, beautiful people they are, @GovChristie. Sign #A3371 today! #LGBT
Please, don’t let another child suffer like I did. Whether you are a New Jersey resident or not, take a moment to contact Gov. Christie to voice your support for LGBT youth.