Janie S. Louisiana

LGBT Conversion Camps

Conversion camps need to be made illegal in the US due to their abusive practices.

Dear Future President:

All around the United States, there are conversion camps for gay people to go to in order to “fix themselves.” These camps are legal in some states, but they should be made illegal nationwide. Despite some camps’ normal, camp-like activities, such as swimming and rock climbing, many of them emotionally abuse their campers which is not healthy for them at all. One example of this, according to cnn.com, occurred when a teenager named Leelah Alcorn committed suicide. The counselors at the camp her parents sent her to told her she was a boy when she clearly identified as a girl. According to the article, she posted a note online that read: “Please don't be sad, it's for the better. The life I would've lived isn't worth living in ... because I'm transgender.” This is just one of many examples of minors being harmed by the practices at these camps.

Some things that happen in a conversion camp include being “locked in a room and literally tortured” as well as staffers telling the campers that “they are the only gay people left on planet earth and the rest had been executed because they were the ones who brought AIDS to the US,” according to theguardian.com. Emotional abuse is not the only type of abuse that takes place in conversion camps. They also physically abuse campers for being gay. Some methods of physical abuse include: Tying down their hands and placing ice on them, placing copper heating coils on their hands, putting needles in their fingers, and electric shocks, all while forcing them to watch gay porn in an effort to associate bad feelings with being gay. They would then take the coils, ice, needles, and other hurtful items away and show men and women holding hands. These forms of abuse do not, in fact, make the camper straighter, but, instead, leave them traumatized and afraid of sex and human closeness in general. According to theguardian.com, one victim named Sam Brinton claims, “Even hugging my father brought flashbacks.” Leaving the camps does not end the pain and suffering experienced by these gay, lesbian, and transgender teens… the aftermath of the suffering caused by these conversion camps lead minors to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.

As you can see, conversion camps are a danger to the mental and physical health of today’s youth and even grown adults. I propose that we make conversion camps illegal nationwide due to the numerous acts of abusive behavior towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Someone who is gay is no less of a US citizen than you or me, so I believe that they should get the same protection from abuse as a normal citizen of the United States.

Respectfully yours,

Janie Schlotterer


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