Being gay is not a disease nor a medical condition. Despite efforts by some medical professionals to "convert" gay people, particularly of teens whose parents make them, gay "conversion therapy" is incapable of treating a condition that does not exist - and it doesn't work. Though the controversial therapy is widely criticized, only six states (including DC) have banned the practice for minors. In an effort to prohibit practitioners from potentially harming children, three Democratic senators have introduced a bill that would ban gay "conversion therapy" nationwide.
Senators Ted Lieu, Patty Murray, and Cory Booker jointly proposed the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017 on April 25. Their argument? Since being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer is unquestionably not a medical condition nor recognized as one by professionals, it cannot be treated. Speaking to The Washington Post, Lieu emphasized that the bill targets those purporting to "heal" people.
"The bill is very simple. It says it is fraud if you treat someone for a condition that doesn't exist and there's no medical condition known as being gay," said Lieu. "LGBTQ people were born perfect; there is nothing to treat them for. And by calling this what it should be, which is fraud, it would effectively shut down most of the organizations."
Homosexuality and gay "conversion therapy" have a dark history. While it was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973, a few therapists across the country have since still asserted they can treat homosexuality. Patients are often subjected to what is essentially torture to "cure" their homosexuality; people have been electrocuted, had nausea induced, and been forced to snap their wrists with rubber bands as a way to discourage their attraction.
Democratic members of Congress have expressed support for the bill. However, it's likely to receive some pushback in the Republican-held House and Senate. Given that Vice President Mike Pence once supported "institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior" and President Donald Trump's administration is already hostile to the LGBTQ community, Democrats will have to fight for this bill to pass.
This is not to say that the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017 is a lost cause. As we've seen time and time again, love ultimately conquers hate.