Ban Conversion Therapy

What Happens During Trans Conversion Therapy? The Answer is Horrifying

Last week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson displayed an appalling about-face after taking back his promise to ban all conversion therapy—including trans conversion therapy—citing the need for “parental involvement” in a child’s transition. While none of us were shocked by the news, it did represent a strange consistency with the decisions in America, specifically on the part of Alabama and Texas, to treat gender-confirming treatment as a form of child abuse. Whether or not Johnson’s decision was a last-ditch attempt to court Tory votes (in the same way that Texas politicians are using transness as the sticking point in order to get re-elected) it leaves trans minors out in the cold, vulnerable to the harsh, abusive practices of parents and organizations who still believe that gayness and transness can be “prayed away.” 

But while we know plenty about the practice of gay conversion therapy, thanks to fiction treatments like 2018’s Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post, as well as documentary accounts like last year’s “Pray Away,” trans conversion therapy remains a confusing concept for many. So just what does this traumatic process entail? Writer and scholar Florence Ashley, and expert on trans conversion practices, wrote an entire book on the subject (it’s of course being review-bombed by TERFs at the moment, so go and give it five stars if you have a  moment.) In a thread over the weekend, Ashley explained in detail the kind of harm and abuse trans subjects are put through during these “therapy sessions.” 

“Verbal abuse, behavioral conditioning, and exorcisms.” Yup sounds…like it should be banned! It gets worse:

The consent question is an especially important one:

Young people around the ages of 18-19 are at high risk, but so are trans adults being pressured into the practice by family, unsupportive workplaces, or the medical establishment itself.

A new study also found that it’s not just “quack” doctors who are engaging in this practice. It’s licensed professionals.

The practice of trans conversion therapy isn’t that removed from gay conversion therapy. Both practices seek to remove “gender deviance” from the world.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, of course. If you want to learn more, check out Ashley’s book launch this Wednesday.


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