(Another in a series of posts about the inspiration and the history behind BLUE FIRE, my new mystery novel, which will be available on Amazon at a special New Release Price – 99 cents starting tomorrow and continuing through April 15th)
I have two gay sons. I’m neither bragging nor complaining about that fact – I’m just communicating it as a fact.
Now, some would still to this day, despite an overwhelming amount of scientific study to the contrary, insist that homosexuality is not a “fact.” No, they believe it’s an individual’s choice. In other words, gay people decide their sexuality much as they might choose what to have for breakfast.
And that ridiculous notion is how gay conversion therapy came into being.
The thinking behind this kind of treatment is, if you can choose to be gay…well, then you can choose not to be gay. You just have to “get your mind right,” as the warden said in Cool Hand Luke. And gay conversion therapy is designed to do just that, “cure” patients of their “disease.”
It would be nice to be able to say, here in the 21st Century, that gay conversion therapy is no longer regarded as a desirable or credible practice, but I can’t. Yes, the American Psychiatric Association condemns the practice, but, from a legal standpoint, I live in the only state in the U.S.A. (New York) that currently intends to ban it through regulatory law.
The history of gay conversion therapy is more than a little horrific. Here are some of the kinds of methods licensed physicians have used over the years to try and “cure” patients of their homosexuality:
- Ice-pick lobotomies
- Chemical castration with hormonal treatment
- The application of electric shock to the hands and/or genitals
- Nausea-inducing drugs administered simultaneously with the presentation of homoerotic stimuli
Fortunately, the above barbaric practices aren’t commonplace anymore, at least here in America, but there are still hundreds of gay conversion therapy organizations in existence in this country. It’s still a thing.
And it’s hard to imagine all the psychic damage it’s doing to those who are forced to undergo it.
So what does this have to do with my new mystery novel, Blue Fire? Well, it goes back to that psychic damage that I just mentioned. When so-called professionals attempt to rewire someone’s fundamental biological programming, it has to cause some level of trauma to those involved. And if the trauma were deep enough, it would create more than a few tragedies in these victims’ lives.
In Blue Fire, those tragedies have already happened. And now everyone involved with those personal calamities has to deal with the resulting fallout.
Hopefully, we live in more enlightened times now. Hopefully, gay conversion therapy will someday be an extinct practice that no sane doctor would advocate. But we’re not there yet. And we have to keep fighting against less enlightened thinking that wants to forcibly remove gay people from the planet.