Sometimes the news smacks you in the face, pulls your hair, stomps on your feet, and laughs at you for yelping.
Like today, when I clicked on CNN’s headline “Gay men sue counselor a who promised to make them straight.”
Innocently thinking I’d get a feel-good update on the first ever lawsuit (really?!?! Yes, so it seems…) against a so-called conversion therapist, instead I got a horrorshow of sadism in the name of religion. My religion.
Some Orthodox Jewish men, and their mothers (say what you want about Jewish mothers. Really. Say it now and get it out of the way) are suing JONAH, “Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality,” for having the most sacrilegious acronym this side of Germany.
No. For the pain and suffering they caused their clients.
But the elaborate abuses heaped on these poor boys call for way more than a cash settlement.
I don’t want to recount tales of this I’m-not-even-calling-it-therapy-in-quotation-marks. Because this is a family blog, and the CNN piece reads like an SnM porn shoot. With some burning your mother in effigy while hollering misogynist invective at her. For ethnic flavor.
These JONAH yokels display the psychological understanding of a toddler. Except that most toddlers don’t beat up others in baroquely creative ways while hiding under a tallis. Or bible. Or concern for others’ well-being.
Here’s how it goes: Oh no, I’m gay! My community will reject me and I’ll lose the love and support of everyone I know, including the god whose worship gives structure and meaning to every moment of my life. But maybe if some people I trust teach me to hate myself, my body, and my mother, my life won’t be so bad.
Parents of queer children, of all religions: if your kid is queer, she will grow up to be a queer adult. No matter what you do.
If you try to beat the queer out of your queer kid, even with words instead of sticks (or hands, or bibles), she will grow up to be a self-loathing queer adult who needs a bunch of actual therapy. From expensive people. With credentials.
I hope the courts give these poor families some justice.
And I hope that, in the not-too-distant future when we look back at how we used to treat queer people, we will survive our own shame.