Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Reparative Therapy Camp May Be Shut Down

Got a nice email this morning from a guy whose blog we have linked to a few times. He says he's a gay Montgomery County dad, and has been following our situation very closely.

He has also been following the "Zach" story closely. You remember, Zach was the 16-year-old gay kid whose parents shipped him off to reparative therapy. He blogged about it before he went, wanted to kill himself, posted some documents from the camp he was being sent to. Then he went, and hundreds of people demonstrated outside the place in Tennessee. When he got out, he just wanted to be left alone, kind of talked like it wasn't too bad, seemed to be going along with the program.

I suppose this happens every day. Gay kids sent off to be made straight. Religious nuts pounding it into their heads that God can only love them if they are heterosexual. Day after day of the same thing ... kinda reminds some of us old-timers of the Patty Hearst story, doesn't it?

Anyway, this guy Terrance had some interesting news. The state of Tennessee has been investigating the Love in Action / Refuge (nice acronym: LIA/R) camp where Zach was sent. Back in June they decided not to charge the group with any violations, and it seemed that was that.

But there are some new developments, which Terrance's blog pointed us to.

The Queer Action Coalition sprang up, I understand, as a reaction to Zach's story, and organized the demonstrations at the Love in Action location. Yesterday they posted a summary from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities (DMHDD) review of Love In Action:
DMHDD staff met with Mr. John Smid, Executive Director of Love In Action, on August 19, 2005. Based on the meeting, it was determined that Love In Action is operating two unlicensed mental health supportive living facilities in Memphis.

In accordance with DMHDD's licensure procedures, a certified letter was sent to Mr. Smid. The letter dated August 23, 2005, stated licensure staff's determination that Love In Action was operating two unlicensed facilities. The letter further stated that he must stop operating the homes within seven (7) days of receiving the letter, or apply for a license within the same time period.

The Department's Office of Licensure determines the seven day period based on the date the organization receives the letter. This is verified by return receipt from the Post Office. Licensure did not receive a return receipt from the post office, so another letter was sent Thursday, September 8th.

If Mr. Smid does not respond by September 15th, licensure staff will revisit Love In Action, to determine if the agency is still operating the two homes. If the homes are still operating, licensure will recommend to the Department's Commissioner that a cease and desist order be issued to Love In Action, in accordance with DMHDD Licensure Law.

Rachel Lassiter
Deputy Press Secretary
Governor's Communications Office

So it sounds like if the reparative therapy guys don't jump, the state of Tennessee will close them down in a couple of days.

Now ... who's looking at Richard Cohen's "coaching" business?

There are some people in Montgomery County who actually think that students should be taught about reparative therapy, as if it were a real thing, as if it worked, as if people who have gone through the treatment should be called "ex-gays." There is no research support for the idea that anybody's sexual orientation can be changed through therapy or anything else; the most they can hope for is for the person to be shamed into pretending to be heterosexual. All mainstream psychological and counseling organizations have issued statements rejecting reparative therapy, and most have declared its practice to be unethical. I do hope the state of Tennessee cracks down on these nuts. And ... let's put our foot down: this stuff does not belong in our schools.


Blogger Kay2898 said...

Jim K said:

Now ... who's looking at Richard Cohen's "coaching" business?

.....or Cohen's sick "hugging therapy."

Does he hug his own clients as part of such therapy?


Kay R

September 13, 2005 2:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home