Quitting conversion therapy

Indiana falters in the pursuit of civil rights.


Photo by Katrell Readus.

Indiana residents march and demonstrate their pride at the June 11 Indy pride parade.

Katrell Readus is a junior and the Opinion Editor for the Fishers Tiger Times. Their views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. 

   This past Wednesday Pennsylvania became one of about 20 states in the country to outlaw conversion therapy, an archaic form of “therapeutic” treatment with the goal of curing its receiver of homosexuality. This announcement came as a reminder that even in light of recent decisions overturning fundamental rights bills and questions surrounding the standing of others, growth and forward movement are still possible for the nation. 

   As a state, Indiana struggles with the concept of LGBTQ+  affirming and protecting legislation. This struggle is evident in the state’s lack of nondiscrimination and anti-bullying laws for LGBTQ+ youth. 

   Indiana’s disregard for the safety of this group of people shows what little importance they are perceived to be by their local and state representatives. 

   A team at the American Psychological Association conducted a review of the existing research on the success of conversion therapy in 2007, this report showed that there was a very small amount of methodologically concrete research on sexual orientation change efforts. The results of research with any validity indicate that it is unlikely that individuals will ever be able to reduce or eradicate same-sex attractions or increase heterosexual attractions.

   There is and has been for nearly two decades, clear and definitive evidence that conversion therapy does not work. However, there are copious amounts of evidence that it is harmful to LGBTQ+ people.

   A state’s adoption of a law forcing the end of a deteriorative practice that would reassure LGBTQ+ community members of their worth to their communities and local and state governments would be a decision that, according to Democratic Indiana State Senator J.D. Ford, would come without significant complications.

   Ford authored and proposed Senate Bill 32, one that would prohibit mental health providers from engaging in conversion therapy with a patient less than 18. He spoke to the media during the proceedings of his bill to plead with Hoosiers to do their part.

   “There is no financial risk to our state government for approving this legislation, so why not do this?” Ford said in a statement. “I’m counting on all Hoosiers to help me get this across the finish line. Call your state senators. Call your state representatives. Call our governor. Tell them that Indiana doesn’t support hate in our state.” 

   Unfortunately, neither Ford’s nor any other anti-conversion therapy bills such as House Bill 1213, another bill with intentions of putting a stop to this method of heteronormativity authored by State Representative Sue Errington, have been passed. 

   While Indiana lags in the forward motion toward equality and freedom of expression its residents are forced to only watch as other states and countries provide their citizens with the rights they deserve.