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LETTER: Bill at Nevada Legislature to address reparative therapy raises issues

I felt a great deal of concern when I read Victor Joeck’s recent column, “Science doesn’t back liberals on limiting therapy.” He insists that homosexuality and the experience of being transgender may not be a “born-that-way phenomenon.” At the very minimum, the matter is at least up for conjecture.

Currently there are a number of studies (Hamer, Bogaert, Levay, Gladue, Mcfadden, Sanders and Mustanski) that all indicate a bio-genetic inference regarding sexual orientation. In a recent study facilitated with male twins as presented to the American Society of Human Genetics, Eric Vilian’s Lab at UCLA finds that “chemical modifications to the human genome (hormone wash) that alter genetic activity (methylation) without changing the DNA sequence, may have a major influence on sexual orientation.”

According to The American Psychiatric Association, however, post-traumatic stress disorder is a very difficult manifestation for a person to experience. As a psychotherapist, I have treated scores of LGBT persons who are in post-traumatic stress due to reparative therapy; some in a condition as bad as battlefield soldiers. In two cases, I was called upon to facilitate the aftermath and grief related to youth suicide as connected to the experience.

Mr. Joecks insinuates that Senate Bill 201 would inhibit “processing” of one’s sexual orientation or gender and that’s not the case. It would, however, stop the psychotherapist with an agenda who is hell-bent on changing sexual orientation. Such perpetrators become part of the induction of guilt, shame and identity impairment by telling young people that who they are is “not right,” leading to a sense of futility when “change” is not a possibility. It can truly be a message with a covert undertone says simply “Don’t be,” and lead directly to suicide.

In my opinion, reparative therapy is an act reflecting hate. SB 201 reflects an effort to create a society of love and compassion.

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