Michael Brown

As of today, it is legal in California to give hormone blockers to an 11 year-old boy in order to delay the onset of puberty, but it could soon be illegal for a 17 year-old with unwanted same-sex attractions to receive professional counseling, even with parental consent. This is an absolute travesty.

SB 1172, which addresses this very issue, passed its first hurdle on Wednesday, as the California Senate voted 23-13 in favor of the bill, which would also require counselors and psychotherapists to warn prospective adult clients of the alleged danger of any counseling or therapy aimed at helping them modify their unwanted same-sex attractions.

Not only is this an outrageous denial of the client’s right to self-determination and, in the case of a consenting minor, parental rights as well, but it also means that the government of California is intruding itself into the relationship between counselor and client. This even prompted “the L.A. Times, not known to be a voice of conservatism, [to] come out against this legislation, saying it constitutes unnecessary government intrusion into what should be mental-health-association policy matters.”

Can anyone say, “Gay activist overreach?” (For a useful fact check of the bill, see here.)

Even without SB 1172, the current state of affairs already reads like a very poor joke, as noted by conservative journalist Matthew Cullinan Hoffman:

A man goes to a psychologist with a problem. “Doctor,” he says, “I’m suffering terribly. I feel like a woman trapped inside the body of a man. I want to become a woman.”

The psychologist responds: “No problem. We can discuss this idea for a couple of years, and if you’re still sure you want to be a woman, we can have a surgeon remove your penis, give you hormones for breast enlargement and make other changes to your body. Problem solved.”

Gratified, the first patient leaves, followed by a second. “Doctor,” he says, “I feel terrible. I’m a man but I feel attracted to other men. I want to change my sexual preference. I want to become heterosexual.”

The psychologist responds: “Oh no, absolutely not! That would be unethical. Sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic!”

As expressed by family therapist Adam Jessel: “In today’s climate, if Bill tells me that he is attracted to his neighbor Fred’s young child and he wants to reduce these attractions, I, as a therapist, can try to help him. If Bill has an unwanted attraction to Fred’s wife, this too is something I am permitted to help him with. But if Bill has an unwanted attraction to Fred himself, then it’s regarded as unethical for me to help.”

Yet this should hardly surprise us, given that in 2011, the council of representatives of the American Psychological Association (APA) voted 157-0 (!) to support same-sex “marriage,” and it is many of the APA’s “scientific” studies that are used to undergird SB 1172, not to mention fuel public hostility against any attempts to change unwanted same-sex attractions.

SB 1172 also relies on the APA’s 2009 task force report on “Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation.” But, as I documented in A Queer Thing Happened to America, the task force “consisted of all gay, lesbian, and gay-affirming psychologists, with no dissenting viewpoints allowed onto the panel. And almost every one of them had a long, proud, and well-known history of gay psychological activism. Yes, this was the APA’s handpicked task force to investigate whether gays could change their sexual orientation.” And now an intrusive and unfair law is about to be passed based on this highly-biased report.

According to a study released at a bisexual summit in 2009, 74% of bisexuals experienced childhood sexual abuse, which confirms the experience of thousands of counselors and clients who can point to a relationship between same-sex attractions and childhood sexual abuse. But SB 1772, backed by the power of the government of California, would make it impossible for a teenager who had suffered such abuse to receive counseling for his or her unwanted sexual attractions, even with parental consent. This is as dangerous as it is cruel.

At the same time, in California (as of September, 2011), “The lesbian parents of an 11-year-old boy who is undergoing the process of becoming a girl . . . defended the decision, claiming it was better for a child to have a sex change when young. Thomas Lobel, who now calls himself Tammy, is undergoing controversial hormone blocking treatment in Berkeley, California to stop him going through puberty as a boy. . . . At age seven, after threatening genital mutilation on himself, psychiatrists diagnosed Thomas with gender identity disorder. By the age of eight, he began transitioning.” And this is legal!

In San Francisco, the official school policy mandates that, “Students shall have access to the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity exclusively and consistently at school.” Yes, if 6 year-old Jane identifies as John, she can use the boy’s bathroom (and locker room).

Not to be outdone, according to the Los Angeles Unified School District Reference Guide, “‘Gender identity’ refers to one’s understanding, interests, outlook, and feelings about whether one is female or male, or both, or neither, regardless of one’s biological sex.” So, your biologically male child can identify as male or female or both or neither, and that is perfectly fine and eminently sane.

Yet it will soon be illegal for a 17 year-old troubled by unwanted same-sex attractions to receive professional counseling – unless, of course, the counselor encouraged the teenager to embrace his or her homosexual feelings or to consider sex-change surgery.

Is this not an outrage?


Michael Brown

Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, including

Can You Be Gay and Christian?

, and he hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.