Stop Subjecting LGBTQ Youth to Mental and Emotional Torture

Target: Charles McCall, Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives

Goal: Do not lift ban on discredited conversion therapy that seeks to change sexual orientation or gender identity.

At a moment when the nation—and Congress—just memorialized the nearly 50 victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub, the rights of LGBTQ individuals are under assault nationwide. Bills undermining the healthcare decisions, the sports participation, and even the basic identities of transgender people have fueled new and divisive culture wars. Other bills would essentially permit discrimination against LGBTQ citizens if religion is cited as an excuse and too many states still have not codified basic civil rights protections for LGBTQ community members into their laws. In Oklahoma, the very same politicians who want to restrict the healthcare choices of transgender youth and their families would gladly repeal a ban on conversion therapy that does irreparable harm to the psyche of young people struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The so-called Parental and Family Rights in Counseling Act would   “permit…mental health providers or religious advisors to engage in sexual orientation change efforts and certain gender dysphoria resolution efforts with children.” Such “treatments” historically have included aversion therapy, which encompassed techniques like electroshock therapy and vomit induction. The bill goes on to state “a mental health provider or religious advisor shall have the liberty to use any therapy they choose, provided that it is in the best interest of the client and within the ethical bounds of the profession.”  The problem with this logic: psychiatry has long condemned these barbaric techniques, and no respected and certified professional still engages in these “services.”  Parents or legal guardians are given full authority under this law to subject children under their care to the equivalent of mental torture for “preservation of the public peace,” “health,” “safety” or seemingly any other arbitrary measure the adult sees fit.

Sign the petition below to demand Oklahoma’s leaders not resurrect this archaic form of child abuse that belongs in the dustbin of history.


Dear Speaker McCall,

Why do politicians who wax poetic about “the best interests of the children” continually champion policies that marginalize and harm this nation’s most vulnerable and targeted youth? The Parental and Family Rights in Counseling Act is not about giving families freedom to make healthcare decisions for their children. If so, its advocates would not boost this bill in one speech while fighting to deprive the families of transgender children of their decision-making capabilities in the very next breath. This bill, at is core, is about granting validation and new, destructive life to psychological torture and prejudice in the guise of “therapy.”

Conversion therapies time and again have been shown to increase suicidal ideation in youth forced to undergo these procedures at the demands of their caretakers. Do you want to increase the suicide rate of a population already disproportionately impacted by this crisis? The America Psychiatric Association has fully condemned these treatments, citing both their complete lack of “success” and the tremendous psychological harm they incite. Oklahoma itself outlawed these practices until power-grabbers saw a new battle in their unending culture wars.

Virtue-signaling politicians often like to proclaim, “Happy Pride Month” and loudly pronounce they are not bigots while doing everything in their power to undermine the rights of the very people they claim as allies. Do not go down in history as such a hypocrite. Send this hateful bill to the legislative graveyard where it belongs.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Lisa @ Pexels

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