Indignation and anger across the decent board about the Israeli Minister of Education claiming that Conversion Therapy, pretending to convert Gays into Straights, is a good thing. However, the reasons for the upset can be diverse but are often confused. It pays to tell them apart.
1. Liberal-minded people are angry at the suggestion that people should not be free to live any way they want. Especially the Jewish-secular population, but not only them, is riled by any suggestion that someone else will tell them what to do with their lives. Live and let live.
There is a Jewish concept of rebuke as a form of caring about your fellow whom you see is going downhill. This commandment must be done most humbly, not instigated by a lust to know better, only by concern for the other and a wish to help.
To save someone from drowning is seldom questioned by “why don’t you leave people in the water alone.” This is because we assume that the drowning person is a victim going down against their will.
However, when people, in full possession of their faculties, decide to walk a certain path, we must be very careful to intervene only to help them, not to try to impose our outlook on life and lifestyle on them.
This is extra tricky in this case, since many Gays (often “supported” by Straight loved ones) at first, don’t want to be Gay. Giving them “therapy” is like selling alcohol to alcoholics — good business but bad service. Or like preaching the Gospels to Jews who are burdened by antisemitism.
This “tolerance” often riles conservatives who then brand homosexuality as a choice, a “lifestyle.” Overlooking that Gays really have no choice.
* NB: It is not unusual that people accused of bigotry try to turn the tables and claim that they are the true victims (of political correctness) being denied liberty. As if there is or should be a right to injure vulnerable sections of the population. Free speech for Nazis, sexists, etc.? Giving equal time to liars and honest people, or to minorities and bigots, is the abuse, not the application, of Free Speech and listen to both sides.
2. Most people understand that you can’t “cure” Gay people as much as you can’t cure a Jew. You can make them hate themselves, behave like they are not part of this minority, and make them feel better for joining the oppressive majority. But at what price! And how bigoted!
For most people, it’s clear that the vast majority of Gay women and men have very little choice about their sexual orientation, just like most Straight people. They are incensed at any idea to castrate them, clip their wings, impose normalcy or abusive them in any other way for who they are.
Claiming that homosexual orientation can be cured is as untruthful and offensive as denying the Holocaust. There are those who call oppression of Gay and Trans people racism since, like skin color, this can’t be changed.
When I think about how 70 years ago 6,000,000 Jews were rounded up and shipped off for destruction to the disinterest of most world leaders and most of the Gentile populations, I’m in utter disbelieve. It is the same incredulity that strikes me when I hear intelligent people talk about Gay people is if they’re inferior, not made in G^d’s image or for a good life.
Surely, humans can choose to have sex contrary to their orientation. The Torah, very clearly, forbids that: [Man,] don’t have intercourse with a man as [you would like:] with a woman. This clearly only addresses Straight men, the Talmud explains. (By extensions, a Gay man should not have sex with a woman as [if he is or would like] with a man.) But this ability to have sex with people from either sex will not lead to the feeling of becoming one flesh — which most people can only reach with one sex.
* Note the difference between the two groups. The first says: “Let people choose!” The second: “They have no choice!” The first: “Let them have fun!” The second; “They too deserve marital bliss!” They both are right.
3. People who know Gay people are furious that people who grow up with such difficulty, brought onto them by bigotry, get victimized again, frustrated in their pursuit of happiness. You don’t tell women that they are weak and you don’t tell Gays that they are sick. It’s not helping.
Legislation in a fair society should aim at making everyone be and feel safe. Just like one should not be allowed to intimidate children, women and Jews, bullying and degrading (and “questioning”) non-Straights should be outlawed beyond doubt. The rabbis teach that G^d stands at the side of the victim, even when a righteous person pursues a villain! How much more so if the pursued one is innocent. All these accusers and pursuers of Gays are going to be so sorry — hopefully still in this world.
4. Those who know therapy know that this attempt at brainwashing is not only a very lucrative scam but also unhealthy and dangerous. Much attention goes to clients who contemplate, attempt or succeed at suicide but many more who received voices in their head impeding their natural sexuality. Often, also, many years (and much beauty) get lost before the person then starts dating and having children — often erasing a while generation (a potential grandparent becomes only a parent). This fake cruel “cure” ruined so many marriages, doomed from the start.
There are “ex-Gays” who claim that it did work for them but many more “ex-ex-Gays” who allege it didn’t. Plus those in their graves. Most of the apologists are proven to have lied for decades before coming out of the closet again. Many of them set out by lying to their “therapists” about “gains made” because they felt bad to disappoint them. Bad scene.
I don’t think that a statement against conversion therapy is enough if it doesn’t go together with acknowledging that Gays are fine as they are.
Claiming that conversion therapy works, is worse than professing that the earth is flat or that G^d is allowed to use Gravity but not Evolution. The latter two points make you look an idiot but the first point preaches that G^d wants Gay Jews to try to get “cured.” That hits extra hard since many Gay kids seem to be more spiritual than their family members.
* So, four groups of reasons: leave Gays alone (let them live), what have they ever done to anyone (they are fine the way they are), aren’t they oppressed enough (don’t oppress), and this is a perilous fraud (robbery) — four different reasons to oppose — and outlaw — reparative therapy.
And as to how to answer a fundamentalist-Jewish politician saying that he hugged Gay students who came out to him and sent some of them to conversion therapy? How about replying: “When a couple of students confided in me that they didn’t like Judaism, I hugged them and sent them on to the missionaries. Some were very grateful for that.”