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Monday, July 11, 2011

What's That Smell?

  The advance politicking related to the 2012 U.S. presidential election is certainly more rabid than any campaign in my memory, and it's certainly bringing out a brand of insanity that can only be described as Gary Bauer on steroids. 

  One of the scariest hopefuls that the new social conservatism is Michele Bachmann. The peculiar thing about her, other than her scary eyes, is her admission of adherence to evangelical Christianity. So religious is Mrs. Bachmann that she signed a pledge which claimed that black families were better under slavery and took a not-so-subtle potshot at Mormons, which include Mitt Romney. However, there are other scary things about the former employee of the IRS, and that is her string of lies.

  A quick look into the finances of her husband's clinic yields the knowledge that they accept government financial contributions. This wouldn't be such a huge deal if Marcus and Michele Bachmann didn't a) claim not to take government money, b) claim to be morally opposed to Medicaid, and c) claim to not engage in so-called gay reorientation therapy. 

  So we know that Marcuss Bachmann takes the money his wife claims to hate, but what about the ex-gay stuff? Well, as it turns out, Marcus Bachmann is a huge fan of the discredited and sometimes life ending pseudoscience. 

  As The Nation discovered, Marcus Bachmann's clinic has been telling people to pray away the gay for a long time, and even counsels children:

In the summer of 2004, Andrew Ramirez, who was just about to enter his senior year of high school, worked up the nerve to tell his family he was gay. His mother took the news in stride, but his stepfather, a conservative Christian, was outraged. “He said it was wrong, an abomination, that it was something he would not tolerate in his house,” Ramirez recalls. A few weeks later, his parents marched him into the office of Bachmann & Associates, a Christian counseling center in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, which is owned by Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus. From the outset, Ramirez says, his therapist—one of roughly twenty employed at the Lake Elmo clinic—made it clear that renouncing his sexual orientation was the only moral choice. “He basically said being gay was not an acceptable lifestyle in God’s eyes,” Ramirez recalls. According to Ramirez, his therapist then set about trying to “cure” him. Among other things, he urged Ramirez to pray and read the Bible, particularly verses that cast homosexuality as an abomination, and referred him to a local church for people who had given up the “gay lifestyle.” He even offered to set Ramirez up with an ex-lesbian mentor.
Ramirez was not impressed. After his second appointment, he resolved not to go back, despite the turmoil it might cause in his family. “I didn’t feel it was something that I wanted to change, and I didn’t think it could be changed,” he says. “I was OK with who I was.”

  So that's old news, right? Not entirely. Truth Wins Out's John Becker, a happily married gay man, recently decided to go undercover as a struggling gay Christian and went for 8 days of treatment sessions at Bachmann & Associated this month. Mr. Becker experienced the typical circus of justification as the therapist looked to find the supposed reasons for his gayness, and treatment for the supposed secret femininity that all gay men secretly have. Not once was Mr. Becker told that anti-gay therapy was linked to depression, suicide, and drug abuse. It was certainly not mentioned that the vast majority of the leaders in the churches he was referred to had disassociated themselves with such things and either gone on to live happy gay lives or succumbed to one of the negative side effects. But then again, everything's fair game as long as we can cure something that this god supposedly created but still hates.

At his clinic, he sells a book by paid bible-thumper and ex-gay contrepreneur Janet Boynes. The book includes this ringing endorsement:  “Janet is a friend. I recommend this book as she speaks to the heart of the matter and gives practical insights of truth to set people free. – Marcus Bachmann, PhD.”. 

 Ms. Boynes has been featured on television and has a moneymaking ministry, where she enjoys the fruit of selling her wares to humble servants who are petrified that their kid may have been exposed to The Gay. Indeed, the ex-lesbian that Andrew Ramirez was set up with may well have been her. She is a woman who claims to cure gays, but clearly hates herself almost as much as male gays, who she has a weird fixation on that echoes that of her Exodus cohorts. 

Janet also buys into the same lies that I was told by a psychiatrist who tried to de-gay me when I was 19. I had self-admitted for depression (that turned out to be really bad PMS) and the shrink locked me up for 6 weeks because I had a supposed gender identity problem. I obviously didn't know that was his reasoning until a well-meaning doctor acquired a copy of his notes and let me read them. It was right there- my butchness and declared sexual orientation were the reason for him sticking me in a building with schizophrenics and paedophiles and trying to make me wear ugly dresses. It also explains why I was released 2 days after requesting a new doctor. (I used the excuse that he was violating privilege, which he was.)

  Ex-gay therapy, whether psychological or aversion, does not work, and I'm living proof. Despite what Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Scientologists all believe, you can't cure something that is not a disease. Forcing people to gender conform will not alter their inner workings and trying to 'fix' as many gays as possible does not a heterosexual make. (I'm looking at you Ms. Boynes) If all it took was wearing a skirt to make a dude gay every Scotsman, priest, Buddhist monk, and kid who has dressed up as a girl for Halloween would have an unquenchable thirst for man-sausage. 

My pop says that such theories are hatched up by those who are hiding what they hate about themselves, and I agree. No amount of praying or punishment can alter orientation, and Marcus Bachmann's clinic is a circus of quackery. Marcus Bachmann's fruitless efforts to change the innate are not only a violation of the Hippocratic Oath, but they make his wife look hypocritical. The federal government should not be giving Bachmann and Associates money to psychologically damage people. B & A is a front for a religious organization and permitting them to obtain monies from taxpayers is not only an an endorsement of discredited pseudoscience, but a fundamental violation of the separation of church and state.  

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