Tuesday, April 6, 2010

California to End Law Aimed at Curing Gays

California has finally seen the sun. A part of the sun that is. A small light has peaked through the clouds of  bigotry, as a bill to strike down a 60 year old homophobic law is introduced. The bill is being sponsored by assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, who stated: “To leave it there would be wrong”.

The law, which was enacted in 1950, classifies homosexuals as "sexual deviants" and requires the California’s Department of Mental Health to conduct research on "deviations conducive to sex crimes against children." A view of the particular section of the law (Welfare And Institutions Code Section 8050) can be found here. The research would be used to help identify potential sex offenders It was a law that was put into action after several cases of sexual child abuse. Specifically after the case of a 6 year old girl who was raped and murdered. The confessed murderer later confirmed that he was not gay, but heterosexual.

The appropriateness and validity of the law is only now being questioned, as the outdated views on Gays and the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community are falling away. Even so, the repeal of this law is but one more crack in the wall against bigotry. It’s still a long road ahead. Last year on April 25, 2009 over 100 people were outside the Emmanuel Centre in London to protest A “Cure the Gays Conference”. Even more recently a Canadian Psychiatrist was arrested for trying to “cure” a gay patient...by abusing him. The doctor has been suspended from practicing after allegedly assaulting the 36 year old man. Who seems to be the “deviant”?

Now that the truth is known, perhaps more people will recognize, as did the American Psychiatric Society in 1973, that homosexuality (a term becoming vastly unused in society ) is not a mental disorder. The act of sexual abuse towards anyone,  is a despicable and horrifying crime. One that is the product of a violent mind, and in most cases, one of control, not one’s sexuality.

My thanks to Ms. Lowenthal, as well as to the other assembly members. It is a ray of hope for those of us in the LGBT community.

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