The Texas Republican Convention recently endorsed in its platform so-called “gay reparative therapy,” widely considered to be junk science by the medical community. While speaking in San Francisco last night, Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, is doubling down on statements that being gay is a “lifestyle choice” and compared being actively gay to being an alcoholic.
It’s not the most batshit crazy comparison to make, actually, but it is predicated on the batshit crazy belief that homosexuality is something a person should just, like, suppress.
Perry was speaking before the Commonwealth Club of California when he was asked a question about so-called “gay reparative therapy.” He answered that he didn’t know whether it worked. Spoiler alert: the American Medical Association opposes the use of reparative or conversation therapy. Even a psychiatrist who concluded gay men and women could be turned straight through therapy has called his small study of 200 people bullshit. Yet Perry continued:
“Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that. I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”
At first blush, that’s a preposterous thing to say. He is comparing homosexuality to an illness, an addiction. An addict can’t just stop wanting their substance. They will always want it; that is what makes someone an addict.
However, I have also come across people — very well-educated but willfully ignorant people — who think that alcoholism as a disease isn’t a real “disease” and drinking is a failure of will. So in the context of willfully ignorant individuals who believe people can stop being gay or stop being addicts if they just try hard enough, it makes sense that Governor Perry would believe this. It doesn’t make it correct, but it makes (il)logical sense.
The question for me, as it always does, comes down to this question: Why do they care so much? Why does it matter to them that being gay is framed as a trendy lifestyle choice and not something present through thousands of years of history? Why do Perry and people who think like him care so much about controlling other people’s sex lives?
Email me at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.
[Image via Getty]