Everyday I am dumbfounded as I am hit with more and more information on the wrongdoings being performed in this world. Walls are being built to divide instead of hands being outstretched to unify, those who once looked to our country as a place of solace and understanding are now being forbidden to immigrate here, and everyday more and more people are discriminated against. It’s a horrible thought, to think that a place that once boasted about its equality and the better life that one can make for themselves in the United States of America is deteriorating more and more each day.
Although massive strides have been made in terms of acceptance and understanding in regard to LGBTQ community and their place in the societal roles of America, an encumbrance remains hindering any and all progress.
Conversion therapy, otherwise known as “straight camp”, is a system riddled with harmful practices and techniques geared toward influencing a person’s sexual orientation. Often times, upon arrival campers are stripped of their own clothes and given a uniform from which no sexual desires can be derived. Those who attend the camps are unable to speak to one another and are forced into an existence of quietness and solitude. Meals are eaten alone and speeches are given in which campers are listed reasons for why their sexual orientation is wrong. Aversion therapy, a type of behavior therapy designed to make a patient give up an undesirable habit by causing them to associate it with an unpleasant effect, is a technique used in order to rid a camper of their sexual desires of the same class. However, it only takes a semester of any high school psychology course to understand that pairing a negative effect with feelings of sexual desire to the same sex will do nothing to change those feelings, it just changes your understanding of those feelings to be negative.
Not only is straight camp cause for concern among the LGBTQ community, it should be a concern for anyone who believes in equal right for all people. Conversion therapy encourages the suppression of one’s true self, which is the greatest crime of all. Those who undergo straight camp are forced to lie and hide the true nature of who they are as human beings rather than be faced with the humiliation and the torture that accompanies being openly gay and nothing- especially a camp that you must pay to attend- should be allowed to make anyone feel that way.