Occupied Seminole/Calusa/Taino land — South Florida
On Nov. 20 the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 in favor of reactionary conversion therapists, striking down previous bans on conversion therapy in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County, Fla.
Conversion therapy, aimed primarily at LGBTQ2S+ youth, is a term that covers a range of dangerous and discredited practices that attempt to “fix” an individual’s queer sexual orientation or gender-nonconforming identity.
The court ruling is a major step back in the LGBTQ2S+ liberation struggle, attacking one of its most vulnerable groups: youth.
Backed by right-wing religious and political ideology, conversion therapy uses emotional manipulation, shaming, mental abuse, and sometimes even physical abuse to “cure” an LGBTQ2S+ individual. It is rooted in the fascistic belief that queerness and transness are mental illnesses that are severe and need aggressive, abusive treatment.
Despite the continued horror stories about conversion therapy, countless LGBTQ2S+ people have survived to testify that it doesn’t work and that they are still queer or trans. That includes confirming revelations from some leaders in conversion therapy themselves! Over 700,000 people in the U.S. have been subjected to conversion therapy. (tinyurl.com/ydxdz7mn)
This fake “therapy” is often practiced on youth who do not have any autonomy over themselves and are forced by hateful family members to attend the sessions. Conversion therapy has been condemned across the U.S. as meaningless, harmful and a major contribution to depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation in youth. It is currently banned in 20 states and Washington, D.C.
As many cities, especially in Florida where this writer lives, struggle to pass a human rights ordinance to protect more LGBTQ2S+ people at work and in housing, this attempt is often blocked by right-wing religious politicians and their donors. These same reactionaries work to chip away at what has been won by LGBTQ2S+ organizers who have worked hard to ensure some protections do exist for youth and their communities of queer/trans people.
LGBTQ2S+ youth deserve a safe and stable life that encourages them to be themselves and allows them to have full self-determination. In order for this to occur, hateful reactionary practices such as conversion therapy must be done away with once and for all. A widespread struggle is now being waged, including in Florida, to make this happen.
Devin C is a transgender Marxist organizer and writer. They are the president of Strive (Socialist Trans Initiative) and a member of Workers World Party – Central Gulf Coast branch.