Bud Kennedy

June 10, 2014

Texas GOP’s ‘gay therapy’ stand misunderstood, author says

A Dallas man says he wants the freedom to seek help with his sexuality, but others fear that parents are forcing children into therapy.

The “gay therapy” story is out of Jeremy’s hands now, and he’s sick about it.

The 36-year-old Dallas Republican lobbied his party to support legal counseling for those wanting to ignore their sexuality or live in celibacy.

Now, both sides are twisting his amendment into something he never intended.

“I never meant it as a state endorsement or requirement,” said Jeremy, a Fort Worth native and conservative political leader of Dallas-based Joel 2:25 International, billed as a ministry for anyone “trapped” in the “wasteland” of homosexuality.

You can see how the rest of America might get that idea. (That’s probably why he’s not giving his full name for now, although he’s identified on the Internet.)

But if his critics’ response is over the top (one headline: “Texas GOP To Turn Gays Straight”), so is his supporters’.

Legalizing “gay therapy” is about “freedom,” according to Texas Values, the Austin affiliate of the Family Research Council.

“Texans believe in freedom,” spokesman David Walls wrote, continuing in the very same sentence that government should not stop parents from “healing” children who don’t “align with their faith, conscience or values.”

In other words, if you simply don’t agree with your teens’ dating choices, just send them to therapy?

“No, no, no, no, no,” Jeremy said.

“That’s not what this was for at all. This is about allowing a therapist to work with a client voluntarily seeking change. I’d be horrified if somebody was forced into therapy. No therapist is ever going to work with a child against the child’s will.”

Jeremy told his personal story to a Republican platform committee at the party convention last weekend in Fort Worth.

He grew up here in a Christian school being taunted and bullied for his appearance, he said, and went on to a series of unfulfilling relationships.

Four years ago, he asked a controversial California psychologist, Joseph Nicolosi, to help him think less about men and sex.

“I wouldn’t suggest it for everybody,” he said.

“I’ve found it’s not as much about sexuality and more about healing emotional wounds. I just think the state should protect counselors who offer this if someone wants it.”

California has banned counselors from practicing such therapy on minors, and lawmakers in other states, many of them Republican, have approved or are considering bills.

The American Psychiatric Association opposes the therapy.

Jeremy said the Republican platform amendment was much like the original version he took to Cathie Adams, president of Texas Eagle Forum.

The final version characterizes the therapy as “reparative” for patients “seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access.”

Jeremy said he is also glad that Republicans deleted other old platform language claiming that homosexuality “tears at the fabric of society” and blaming gays and lesbians for a “breakdown of the family.”

“We should never portray a hostile message about dividing people,” he said.

Too late.

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