The Right Wing

Chris Christie Undecided on Pseudo-'Therapy' Practices that Electrocute Gay Children

The New Jersey governor won't say whether he supports legislation that would ban 'gay conversion therapy' in his state.

Photo Credit: Bob Jagendorf / Flikr

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he’s undecided on legislation that would ban the pseudo-science known as “gay conversion therapy” in his state.

“I'm of two minds just on this stuff in general,” the Republican governor said in a news conference in reference to bills “that restrict parents' ability to make decisions on how to care for their children.” The child-rearing practice in question involves labeling gay children as mentally ill and forcing them to endure “therapies” that, according to the World Health Organization, can cause “severe harm to mental and physical health.”

Gay conversion therapy rests on the discredited assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder, curable through a slew of archaic tactics that have received overwhelming condemnation from the medical and psychologist communities.

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Governor Christie’s uncertainty puts him at odds with the American Academy of Pediatrics [pdf], which concludes, “Therapy directed specifically at changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation.” In addition, the American Medical Association rejects the practice on grounds that it assumes individuals should change their sexual orientation.

On Monday, the New Jersey Senate Health committee approved a bill to ban the “therapy” for minors after hearing witnesses describe painful childhood experiences with the practice, reported. One witness, Brielle Sophia Goldani, recalled her parents forcing her to a gay conversion camp where she was hooked up to electrodes and I.V. machines. The administrators showed Goldani pictures depicting gay men while electrocuting her “like a dog.” “They would hook me up to an I.V. to make me sick and show me a series of unacceptable images,” Goldani recounted. “I would try to time it so I had an empty stomach on those days, but it didn’t work.”

AmericaBlog’s John Aravosis several other techniques reportedly used during “conversion therapy,” including, but not limited to: forcing male “patients” to play sports and female “patients” to wear lipstick, homoerotic hugging between therapist and “patients,” and asking “patients” to beat a pillow, representing his or her mother, with a tennis racket.

Jacob Rudolph, a teen who also testified in front of the New Jersey Senate Health committee, created a petition asking Christie to support the bill banning this destructive practice. At time of publication, Rudolph’s petition received more than 112,000 signatures.

[h/t The Huffington Post,]

Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.