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Is Reintegrative Therapy the same as conversion therapy?

The Texas GOP has released their new party platform, which endorses Reintegrative Therapy, raising concerns amoung medical profressionals.

Update:
Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., US, on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. Senate leaders are intensifying a two-prong effort to pass legislation to address mass shootings, working to put the recently negotiated gun safety framework into legislative text by week's end. Photographer: Tom Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BloombergGetty

As states across the nation move to pass transphobic and homophobic laws, the Texas GOP has taken gender based discrimination to a new level in the party’s new political platform. The revised platform has many, within and outside the party, worried.

Aside from the abhorrent and far-right positions on social issues, the platform also asserts that “Texas retains the right to secede from the United States,” and calls on the legislature to “to pass bill in its next session requiring a referendum” to allow “the people of Texas to determine whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation.”

The platforms also affirms that it is the belief of the party that President Biden lost the 2020 General Election.

GOP says homosexuality is an abnormal life choice

The new document calls homosexuality an “abnormal life choice” and calls upon the Texas Legislature “to pass legislation that requires adherence to sex identifications on all official documents that will be based upon biological gender.” The law they advocate for would also enact “civil penalties and fiscal compensation awarded to de-transitioners who have received “gender affirming surgery” as compensation for malpractice.”

In addition to equating drag queens to pedophiles, the platform also encourages that legal protections for businesses to discriminate on the basis of “sex, sexuality, gender, or gender identity,” be passed by the legislature.

It is the opinion of the GOP that there are only two genders: biological male and biological female. Such ideas can have extremely negative consequences for youth who identify as gender fluid or non-binary.

Backlash on social media has been swift as outrage grows that such archaic and dehumanizing language could be approved of by party leaders.

How does Reintegrative Therapy compare to conversion therapy?

The platform endorses “Reintegrative Therapy” (RT) which proponents say is not the same as conversion therapy (CT) because “its methods are the same for anyone seeking help for trauma and behavioral addiction, regardless of gender or sexuality.”

The platform recognizes, contrary to modern medical research, that “gender identity disorder is a genuine and extremely rare mental health condition.”

The Republican platform also rejects the passage of laws that forbid therapists, psychologists, and licensed counselors who use RT or other “counseling methods when counseling clients of any age with gender dysphoria or unwanted same-sex.” The language under this section and the fact that sexuality is described as a “choice,” show that the party sees homosexuality as a mental illness. The scientific community has rejected this belief for decades.

Many LBTQIA+ advocates see RT as a rebranding of CT, which has become increasingly unpopular because of the coercion and violence used to “change” a person’s sexuality. Those who endorse Reintegrative Therapy will argue that “sexuality change is often the byproduct” of this process but not the goal. But behind the trademark is a “medical” process similar to that used in conversion therapy.

According to the Trevor Project, an organization that aims to reduce suicide among LGBTQIA+ youth, twenty-eight percent of LGBTIA+ children and teenagers who attempt suicide have undergone CT, with twenty-seven percent having been threatened with CT. Amit Paley, The Trevor Project’s Executive Director, stated that “Conversion therapy has been consistently associated with negative mental health outcomes and greater risk for suicide.”

No major medical organizations endorse the use of CT or RT. Quite the opposite, the American Psychological Association and American Medical Association oppose the practices because they treat sexuality as a illness and urge parents and those considering it to proceed with caution.

Increasing violence towards transgender youth

Across the country, state legislatures have been passing laws that make it more difficult for transgender youth to express themselves freely and restrict access to gender-affirming medical treatment. The platform uses terms like “natural man and woman” to leave out transgender individuals. This language is offensive and terms are poorly defined, making assumptions of what potential policies could look like alarming and unclear.

The GOP in Texas took their opposition further by stating that they oppose “all efforts to validate transgender identity,” for children, teens, and adults alike. Additionally, the platform reads that the Republican Party opposes “transgender normalizing curriculum and pronoun use.” It also doubles down on the belief that student-athletes should be forced to compete under the biological sex they were assigned at birth.

The Trevor Project also reported that twenty percent of transgender youth attempt suicide. Gender-affirming medical care and be a life-saving resource for teenagers struggling with their gender identity or lack the of support from their families and communities. Over half of transgender boys and men have experienced violence or been threatened because of their gender identity; the rate for transgender girls and women is just under half at forty-seven percent.

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