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U.N. anti-torture panel’s psychodrama | TribLIVE.com
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U.N. anti-torture panel’s psychodrama

Tribune-Review
| Saturday, November 8, 2014 9:00 p.m.

The United Nations Committee Against Torture will soon hear testimony in New York City on whether gay conversion therapy, recently outlawed in California and New Jersey, is “a form of torture.” The panel began hearings in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The time is long overdue for the United States to address the severe harms inflicted on young LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people and their families by purveyors of these dangerous and discredited practices,” National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) attorney Samantha Ames told The Washington Times.

Ms. Ames runs the NCLR’s “#BornPerfect” campaign. It strongly opposes any efforts to change sexual orientation, which it claims is set at birth. The NCLR has been lobbying the U.N. for help in outlawing any psychiatric or therapeutic effort to convert young homosexuals to heterosexuality, even if they specifically ask for such professional help. Ames advocates that American states prohibit state-licensed psychologists, psychiatrists or other mental-health professionals from attempting to change a minor’s sexual orientation or self-identified gender.

Many groups that favor conversion therapy for young Americans have “supported laws in other countries criminalizing LGBT people, such as the ‘kill the gays’ bill recently in Uganda,” Ames told The Times. Austin Ruse of the Center for Family & Human Rights Institute said the idea that conversion therapy is torture is “absurd.” He added that the U.N. Committee Against Torture — despite member nations with problematic human-rights records — is likely to be sympathetic to the NCLR, though the psychiatric profession generally believes that people with “unwanted” conditions, which can include homosexual attractions, deserve a therapeutic response.

Since this psychodrama will soon play out in Manhattan, an idea flashed to me: Invite New York’s lunatic mayor, Bill de Blasio, and his wife, Chirlane McCray, to testify. A 54-year-old former lesbian and charter member of a black feminist collective, she says she “renounced” lesbianism after she met her husband, then a Sandinista supporter (perhaps the conversion occurred on their honeymoon on their beloved island of Cuba). Dare I say that de Blasio, under laws passed at the NCLR’s behest, would have been banned from serving as the catalyst for his wife’s switch to heterosexuality? Perhaps he would have been jailed or at least fined.

To add to the circus act, the parents of Michael Brown — the “gentle giant” slain in a confrontation with a Ferguson, Mo., police officer that has been heavily politicized by the attorney general and President Obama — are soliciting funds to travel to Geneva to testify. Don’t be surprised if Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, America’s Frick and Frack, show up with them.

Richard W. Carlson is a former U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles and the former director of the Voice of America.

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