Say what? ‘Gender’ changeable – but ‘attractions’ aren’t?
On Monday the city became the fourth municipal government in the U.S. to ban therapy that has helped many thousands of young people resolve the problems that led to same-gender attractions. “Reparative therapy,” as it has come to be known, is also banned in Cincinnati, Miami Beach, and Washington, DC – as well as in five states: California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, and Vermont.
Joseph Backholm heads the Family Policy Institute of Washington, which is based just north of Seattle. He explains the effect of the ban.
“The theory of this is that any attempt to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attraction is always harmful and abusive,” he begins. “And in effect, what they have done is … made it illegal for licensed therapists to communicate to minors that it is possible to reduce or eliminate same-sex attraction.”
Under the ban, parents also won’t be able to seek counseling for a child needing the therapy within Seattle’s city limits. Backholm sees some irony in the approach.
“[Particularly] in light of the fact that it is now also illegal to refer to someone who is anatomically male as a male at all times if they request that you refer to them as a female,” he observes.
“So we have the situation where the city of Seattle has declared that same-sex attraction is always unchangeable – but your gender is changeable whenever you want to.”
Backholm also notes that, at least in theory, if a member of a church’s pastoral staff who is also a licensed counselor tries to help a boy or girl with the problem through biblical and psychological counseling, that staff member could be disciplined and/or fined.