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Gay activists don’t really care about child abuse

Supporters and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community take part in a gay pride parade organised by the Malta Gay Rights Movement in Valletta June 22, 2013.
Supporters and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community take part in a gay pride parade organised by the Malta Gay Rights Movement in Valletta June 22, 2013. | (Photo: Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi)

Last week, gay activists working with legislators in Utah held a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for minors. It was a bold move to push this bill in such a conservative, religious state. Historically, Republicans have opposed these “Must Stay Gay” bills and Democrats have supported them. Activists knew bi-partisan support was necessary for their bill to stand a chance in Utah.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints miraculously said it would not oppose the legislation, as long as it didn’t interfere with the church’s standards on sexuality, such as abstinence before marriage. The bill’s sponsors – Rep. Craig Hall and Sen. Daniel McCay – were amazingly, both Republicans. Even Governor Gary Herbert, also a Republican, enthusiastically supported the measure. The legislation appeared to be a slam dunk! 

It didn’t take long for gay activists to start telling their “conversion therapy” horror stories. According to Deseret News, 19-year-old Nathan Dalley said a “conversion” therapist told him he could overcome his same-sex attraction if he became more muscular, played sports with boys, and snapped a rubber band against his wrist when he had gay thoughts. “The therapy that was supposed to be changing my sexuality made me spiral deeper into depression, anxiety, and shame about who I am.” 

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Tragically for Dalley – who did not name the therapist he worked with or give details as to whether or not he was licensed (all important facts that would have lent to Dalley’s credibility as a witness) – said he eventually attempted suicide because of the therapy. But this isn’t the first time we have heard such horror stories. 

Since California became the first state in 2012 to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for minors, gay activists have testified in front of hundreds of legislative bodies in their efforts to prevent “conversion therapy,” which they call child abuse. And who wouldn’t oppose a law to prevent child abuse? After all, if licensed therapists are subjecting teens to aversion therapy – such as telling a client to slap a rubber band against his wrist, or worse, electric shock – to turn them “straight,” these are truly inhumane and barbaric practices that need to be stopped. 

However, the main problem with these “conversion therapy” horror stories is that once they are scrutinized, the details become stranger than fiction. 

In 2013, in front of a New Jersey Senate committee, transgender Brielle Goldani told one of the most outrageous stories of “conversion therapy” child abuse when she said her church sent her to a month-long camp in Ohio called “True Directions,” run by the Assemblies of God church:

“Twice a week I was hooked up to electrodes on my hands . . .  I, a child, was shocked repeatedly by people who had my parent’s permission to torture me . . . Twice a week, my hands were hooked up to electrodes for two hours at a time while we were shown positive images such as a nuclear family, a female with children, a male construction worker and a female receptionist. I was also subjected to forced IV injections twice a week for two hours each while being made to watch negative images of what they didn’t approve of . . . The injections made me vomit uncontrollably. Every Friday and Saturday evening, we were forced to go on ‘flirting dates’ where a camp counselor coached us on how to talk to the opposite sex romantically . . . This is nothing more than legalized child abuse!”  

Sounds pretty horrible, right? What “Christian” church or therapist would use such barbaric, violent treatments? But if such a camp exists, surely someone would have filed an ethics complaint long ago. Surely the legal authorities would have put an end to this abuse! But according to the office of the Ohio secretary of state and attorney general, no such camp called “True Directions” existed. In fact, the only trace of this camp is from a 1999 film titled But I’m a Cheerleader, starring drag queen RuPaul. In the satirical film, the main character is suspected of being a lesbian by her family, which then proceeds to send her to a “conversion therapy” camp to cure her. After I exposed Goldani’s hoax, she stopped telling her tall tales of “conversion therapy” child abuse. But that didn’t stop NJ Governor Christie from signing the bill into law.

More recently, Sam Brinton – currently working on behalf of the Trevor Project – has testified in the front of United Nations (among many other political bodies) about his “conversion therapy” child abuse:

“When I was a child, a licensed psychotherapist tried, and failed, to change something I never chose. He tied down my hands and placed ice on them while showing me erotic pictures of men . . . he wrapped my hands in hot coils, stuck needles in my fingers, and shocked me with electricity. Through all of this, I remained gay, but became suicidal.”

Unfortunately for Sam, the dates of his “child abuse” don’t line up. He can’t seem to remember the “licensed psychotherapist’s” name, nor specifically where he received the “conversion therapy.” Brinton – who’s into kink, sadomasochism, and “puppy play” – has now been exposed for his fraud at:

And then there’s the curious case of Matthew Shurka. In 2016, one of the more shocking tales of “therapy torture” was told by Shurka, a prominent spokesperson for the NCLR’s #BornPerfect campaign. During a committee hearing in Virginia, Shurka (who allegedly went through “conversion therapy” from the ages of 16-21) testified to the following:

“I was in a camp in Charlottesville . . . [he said about a short stint at Journey Into Manhood, located about 50 miles outside of the city] Not everyone walked out alive . . . Every week someone is committing suicide or overdosing on drugs because they know they can’t succeed.”

The most disturbing part of Shurka’s testimony is that no one, not even the press, asked him why he didn’t report the so-called “deaths” that occurred during his experience with Journey Into Manhood. Surely, if a crime, suicide, or homicide had occurred, wouldn’t a police report have been filed?

Last week in Utah, Republicans gave exactly what gay activists have been asking them to do for many years. They amended a “conversion therapy” ban bill to prohibit licensed therapists from using electric shock therapy. They also put a provision in the bill that would require therapists not to promise that clients would experience a “complete and permanent reversal in same-sex attractions.” Surely, prohibiting these practices would go a long way to prevent child abuse, right? 

But rather than support legislation that would actually prevent abuse, the sponsor withdrew the bill. The same thing happened this year in Virginia. Republicans amended a “conversion therapy” bill to prevent electric shock “conversion therapy,” only to see all of the Democrats (and two Republicans) oppose it. The bill failed in Senate committee, 20-19. This also happened in the state of Washington in 2014. Republicans attempted to compromise with Democrats – whose proponents of the “conversion therapy” bill told stories about children being subjected to shock therapy and ice baths – only to vote down the legislation because they said “it didn’t go far enough.”

The reality is that gay activists don’t really care about child abuse. If they did, activists would have denounced a New York City gay bar that recently featured Desmond – an 11-year-old drag queen – dancing on the bar top while gay patrons threw dollar bills at him. In fact, according to Life Site News:

“ABC’s ‘Good Morning America' recently devoted a segment to the boy during which his cross-dressing was celebrated as an example of individuality, and his parents were praised for their support of his drag hobby’.”

That’s right. Parents who allow their drag queen son to be exploited are praised, while moms and dads that want licensed therapy available for their sexually confused teens are called child abusers!

Rather than oppose actual child abuse in Utah, gay activists demanded the withdraw of the bill to ban electric shock therapy. The reason is that they know that ethical, licensed therapists don’t practice aversion therapy. Their Bait and Switch strategy has been exposed at least three times now in three different states. When politicians start to ask legitimate questions, such as: “Who/what/where/how did this abuse happen?” and: “Why is there not a complaint registered with the state licensing board on this abuse?” The activists suddenly change the game, and it’s not electric shock therapy that is harmful, but someone’s opinion that differs from their political views.  

The reality is that gay activists want to outlaw conversations and viewpoints they do not like, including people that have been helped by therapy. People like Caleb, who testified in Utah’s hearing that “change therapy” helped him resolve unwanted same-sex attraction and depression that stemmed from childhood sexual abuse. Caleb – who attended the hearing with his wife – testified that “my therapist never suggested I do anything to make me feel uncomfortable, punish myself or make me feel shame . . . I believe this therapy saved my life. I know that for the sake of children who may be struggling with similar issues, that this could save their lives too.”

But gay activists don’t really care about Caleb’s child abuse, nor do they care about the emotional well-being of drag queen Desmond, who is a real victim of exploitation. This is what happens when a sexual culture war is played out on the mental health battlefield. 

Christopher Doyle is a licensed professional counselor and the author of The War on Psychotherapy: When Sexual Politics, Gender Ideology, and Mental Health Collide (now available for pre-order at:

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