“Anecdotal Accounts”


Every day, dozens of articles about “conversion therapy” appear in media throughout the U.S. Americans seem to “get” the fact that these “treatments of torture” (as I like to call them now) are anything but “therapeutic,” that nothing about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity ever gets “converted” or “repaired.” I remain bemused that in my home country of Canada, where my own six years of so-called “therapy” occurred, media coverage still remains sorely lacking—as if we’ve someone conquered the problem of ignorance and hatred north of the border. “Conversion therapy,” I’ve long believed, is a problem of ideology, not nationality.

But anyway, in one of these recent articles written by Susan Miller of USA Today, titled “Record number of states banning conversion therapy,” a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, a man by the name of Peter Sprigg, is referenced to have said that there are only “‘anecdotal’ accounts of conversion therapy being harmful.”

Statements like these make me seriously crazy. How many “anecdotal accounts” from trauma survivors does it take for others to hear that they were duped into believing lies about who they are, and that various forms of torture (take your pick) will never “change” their sexual orientation or gender identity? What kind of human being actually believes that snapping elastic bands against a wrist, or delivering currents of high voltage electricity into a person’s body, or forcing them (as in my case) to undergo aversive treatment or take fatal doses of several different kinds of psychiatric medications—that any of these “treatments” will have the slightest impact on sexual desire or gender identity, except to make the person deeply ashamed, depressed, or suicidal? Sadly, such is the world of blinding denial, quackery, and cruelty. After my own “therapy” ended, I understood all too well that these kinds of treatments are acts of criminality, that they are human rights violations.

I wrote my book, The Inheritance of Shame, to bring a strong and sustained voice to the dialogue about the dangers of “conversion therapy.” My book, my voice as a survivor, is not “anecdotal.”