U.S. appeals court upholds New Jersey’s gay-to-straight conversion therapy ban


In Trenton, NJ today, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling and New Jersey’s ban on gay-to-straight conversion therapy for minors.

The law prevents a licensed therapist, psychologist, social worker or counselor from using sexual orientation change efforts on children younger than 18.

According to the three-judge panel, the law does not violate freedom of speech or religion and the state has substantial interest in regulating the speech of professionals dealing with mental health to protect the public.

Days after Governor Chris Christie signed the ban into law, opponents filed suit. They claimed the law violated their responsibility to their clients who wanted the treatment (you know, the minors that were unable to consent and typically forced into therapy by their parents).

Supporters, on the other hand, cited scientific reports by the American Psychological Association and other professional organizations that question the efficacy of the treatment and criticize the practice as emotionally demoralizing and damaging.

Advertisements

Supporting our youth – Your Holiday Mom


The holiday season is upon us, but you would never know it watching the evening news. The holidays are a time to rejoice, to celebrate love and life…but recent tragedies and the worst of humanity has been on display recently. Amidst all the negativity and turmoil, I wanted to share something joyful, uplifting and full of the true spirit of the holidays.

A group of 40 moms (and a few dads) banned together under the common goal of sharing their love for LGBT youth in need of it this holiday season called Your Holiday Mom. The moms are mostly straight, some with children of their own and some without. Some have several children and from large extended families and others are single moms with no extended family. Some have LGBT children, some do not. Many of the 40 moms have not met the founder or each other, they simply came together to offer a message of love and to be a stand-in mom for an LGBT youth that may have been rejected by their own family.

Each of the 40 volunteers have recorded a video and written an open letter in which their offer to be a surrogate mom to a lonely LGBT child this season. Youth can sign up to receive emails each day from Thanksgiving until New Years, or they can read the letters online if they wish to remain anonymous.

In case you were unaware, LGBT children are often rejected or become estranged from their families as young teens and many are the victims of religious intolerance. LGBT teens are all too often told to leave their homes or are subjected to emotional abuse until they run away, even as psychologists contend that the greatest indicator of how successful a gay teen will be as an adult is the acceptance and support they receive from their family when they come out. Organization such as Your Holiday Mom or the It Gets Better project are working to offer love and support to these teens yearning desperately to know they someone is out there and someone cares.

And I will leave you with one final thought. Maybe the term LGBT youth is misleading or causes many to fixate on the LGBT rather than the most important part, the youth. The average age of a homeless LGBT youth is 14 years. Thus, thousands of children out there are 11, 12 and 13 years old and living on the streets, homeless. Imagine an 11- or 12-year-old being tossed from his/her home and forced to live on the street. This statistic shocks me, and should shock the public conscience as much as any recent news story. This is neglect, and these children need a voice…you may not be able to do everything, but you can do something…just as the 40 moms of Your Holiday Mom have done. Make your voice heard, give rejected LGBT youth a voice.

 

Another Teen Lost to Bullying, Facebook Responds


Kameron Jacobsen was a 14-year-old from Orange County, New York that took his life after Facebook taunts about his perceived sexual orientation.

They didn’t even know his sexual orientation. This, and all forms of bullying is unacceptable and it is up to all of us to put an end to this epidemic.

Facebook issued a response to this incident:

We are deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of these students, and our hearts go out to their family and friends. These cases serve as a painful reminder of how people can help others who are either bullied or show signs of distress on Facebook. We encourage them to notify us, and we work with third party support groups including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to reach out to people who may need help. Our Safety Center also contains resources on how to help people who are in danger of harming themselves. These deaths are a loss to many, and it’s critical that we all work together to give hope to teens who may be feeling similarly.

All I can say is, do not stand idle and allow anyone to poke fun of someone for the sexuality. If you won’t say anything, it will not end. It is up to all of us!