Southeastern Equality (SeEq)-McAlester Chapter of Oklahomans for Equality would like to address the ​interim study Rep Randy Randleman is hosting on “the right of therapists to help those with unwanted same-sex attractions and the right of clients to receive the therapy.”

He stated in his opinion piece published on Sunday September 13 that this interim study was in response to the Youth Mental Health Protection Act that ​would prohibit licensed medical practitioners from providing conversion therapy, a widely discredited practice that seeks to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, to anyone younger than 18. This bill had bi-partisan support in the house. This bill also focused on preventing the torture of children for the sake of conversion.

Conversion therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation using psychological or spiritual interventions. People report that when they were going through conversion therapy, they felt ashamed, they had diminished self-worth, they experienced loss of faith, they felt dehumanized and many felt suicidal.

It would appear that the use of this hot-button issue that affects the lives of humans every day is an attempt to stir up controversy during election season. It is concerning that a representative in the legislature who is also a practicing psychologist appears to be supporting a practice that tortures children. Is the representative a proponent of state-sanctioned child abuse?

We urge our fellow constituents to not fall for political pandering. Do your research and contact your representatives in support of the Youth Mental Health Protection Act.

Thanks,

Brian West

President

Southeastern Equality (SeEq) - McAlester

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