Opinion

Opinion: Is conversion therapy wrong? Of course it is!

Chevi Rabbit talks about conversation therapy

Is 2S-LGBTQIA+ conversion therapy wrong? Of course it is!

2S-LGBTQIA+ conversion therapy is a concept based on disrespect and hate.

The Human Rights Campaign states, “2S-LGBTQIA+ ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy is a dangerous practice that targets LGBTQ youth and seeks to change their sexual or gender identities.

“So-called ‘conversion therapy,’ sometimes known as ‘reparative therapy,’ is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades, but due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.”

For me, 2S-LGBTQIA+ conversion therapy is like telling another human being that you don’t deserve love or respect unless you conform to being a straight male or straight female. This is outright hateful and wrong.

Everyone deserves love and respect for being true to their sexual orientation.

2S-LGBTQIA+ conversion therapy continues to be seen as a form of mental and emotional abuse. Any group or organization that attempts to demoralize a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression is dangerous, especially for our vulnerable 2S-LGBTQIA+ children and youth.

I was raised with unconditional love as an Indigenous youth in my home town of Ponoka and the community of Montana First Nation. I’m so grateful and happy that I was afforded the privilege of being raised in a family that valued unconditional love. My parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins and extended family would never place judgment on my sexual orientation.

I was raised that who I am as a person was exactly who the Creator made me to be. I was raised in unconditional love. This afforded me the privilege to focus on my education and passion projects — education that took me to Red Deer College, Marvel College and the University of Alberta and passion projects that have made huge impacts in Alberta.

Growing up, I never worried or stressed about my sexual orientation or how I expressed myself as a person. I was valued and loved just the way the Creator made me. I am exactly who the Creator designed me to be.

As long as I worked, made healthy choices, treated myself with respect and others kindly, I would be okay.

So, when I first heard about the concept of conversation therapy I thought it was a joke. I thought there was no way any parents or caregivers would ever tell their children to attend such a bizarre idea. It sounds violent. It sounds barbaric. It sounds mean-spirited and it’s not right.

It sounds a lot like residential schools but for the 2S-LGBTQIA+ community. In residential schools, Indigenous kids were taught to hate themselves as First Peoples and stripped of their identity. That is similar to 2S-LGBTQIA+ conversion therapy, where kids and adults are taught to hate themselves as 2S-LGBTQIA+ people.

Society is changing; truth-telling, acceptance and 2S-LGBTQIA+ inclusion are now becoming a way of life.

I encourage you to choose love, mutual respect and self-acceptance when raising our communities’ next generation. Let’s quit telling people that in order to be loved they have to change or live up to unhealthy conditions.

Empowering self acceptance goes a long way in life. Raising a generation on healthy self acceptance is what’s needed in Alberta.

So, 2S-LGBTQIA+ conversion therapy is wrong. And you know it.

Chevi Rabbit is a reporter with Black Press.