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This bisexual teen is urging Mitch McConnell to ban conversion therapy nationally

This bisexual teen is urging Mitch McConnell to ban conversion therapy nationally

A protest sign reading 'Self-hatred is NOT therapy.' (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Shane* is an 18-year-old bisexual from New Jersey. He is currently petitioning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to ban conversion therapy across the United States.

Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell, a Republican Senator from Kentucky, is known for his opposition to LGBTI rights and protections. Last May, McConnell appointed anti-LGBTI activist Tony Perkins to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. He also sought to confirm numerous anti-LGBTI judges to district courts around the country.

Still, Shane set up a Change.org petition urging Senator McConnell to reconsider his position.

The petition

‘Fourteen states have banned conversion therapy for young people. [It is a] dangerous religion-based procedures which try to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. “Ex-gay therapy” has been linked to suicide, depression, isolation and anxiety. [It] has been condemned by nearly every medical and psychological body as dangerous, destructive and something no person should be forced to undergo,’ Shane writes on the petition page.

‘And yet in 36 states, “ex-gay therapy” remains a practice that’s largely legal. But there is national momentum as more and more states move to ban [it] and protect minors from attempts to “cure” them of their sexual orientation.’

‘Fourteen states banning this false therapy is far from enough. LGBTQ+ kids are still facing dangerous “ex-gay therapy” attempts in more than 30 states around the country.’

Why it matters to Shane

GSN spoke with Shane about the petition and his hopes for it moving forward.

‘A few months back, I met a couple of friends I’m close with through a gaming server,’ Shane explains. ‘Most of the folks in said server are LGBT+, so it’s a pretty supportive environment.’

‘At one point, one of my friends came to us and told us that she (MtF trans and bisexual, lives in a very right-leaning area) was being forced into conversion therapy by her Catholic private school counselor. She told us how terrified she had been of it, and her troubles were a wake-up slap to me.’

‘I’ve always lived in an accepting neighborhood. And I’m fairly open about my bisexuality, and don’t feel like I have to be worried for my welfare. Learning that there were people in the majority of the country like myself who weren’t allowed the same security disgusted me. After talking to a counselor, who told me a story about one of her other students who was forced into a traditional “pray the gay away” camp, I decided to start the petition. I’ve found a lot of support along the way from smaller groups and friends. I’m hoping that one day, I will have enough signatures to get a legislation passed to end conversion therapy in the States permanently.’

To keep up with Shane’s petition progress, follow him on Twitter: @rainbowprole

*A pseudonym was used at the request of the interview subject

See also

Massachusetts House passes bill banning conversion therapy on minors

Utah gov apologizes to LGBTI youth for not passing conversion therapy ban

The state of Georgia wants to ban conversion therapy