Can’t change who they are

LGBT students terrified of what Trump administration will mean for the future of the LGBT community

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With the United States now under the Trump administration, his potential Cabinet members have caused concern for several groups of people.

One of those concerned groups is the people in the LGBT community which perceives Trump to be against them.

This group is especially wary of Vice President Mike Pence who was reported to support during the election campaign he supported electric shock conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy is a type of spiritual or psychological counseling that is aimed at changing an LGBT person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, or change a person’s gender identity to make them identify with the gender they were given at birth.

While Pence supporting electric shock conversion therapy has been found to not be true, he did want to move money that has been put into the Ryan White CARE Act, which is a federally funded program that provides services to people living with AIDS/HIV, and put it into conversion therapy institutions.

He also has quite a history of opposing LGBT rights as governor of Indiana.

According to, Pence has even said in a speech that, “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”

In that same Time article, Pence stated he believed that keeping gay people from marrying was enforcing, “God’s Idea” and was not discrimination.

His extreme public dislike for people in the LGBT community has left many of those people scared, worried, and upset about what may happen to LGBT people and how they will be treated in the future.

LGBT students at SHS that were interviewed have some strong opinions concerning conversion therapy.

“I think it’s disgusting. People are born gay, or trans. Conversion therapy doesn’t change that, but it breaks them down so much that they’ll do anything to hide who they are,” one student said when asked how she felt about conversion therapy.

Some students are terrified and saddened that it even exists.

“Conversion therapy, in my opinion, is incredibly terrifying. To me it just does harm, no good. Its physical attack on the brain can cause severe problems. And honestly, it only makes things worse and shouldn’t be considered a proper cure,” Suzy* said

“Conversion therapy is one of the saddest treatments ever introduced to the medical field. The very idea behind conversion therapy is a twisted idea,” Sean* said.

Many of the students fear for their safety after hearing how the country’s leaders speak about the LGBT community.

“I don’t feel safe. I know you aren’t forced to go unless it’s by family, and my family supports me, but for people who don’t have that? They aren’t safe, and that terrifies me,” Taylor* said.

Other students are scared because the people in power of our country speak so freely against people they don’t like that it will encourage other people that don’t like the LGBT community to do the same.

“I am mostly concerned about Trump and Pence supporters hearing our leaders publicly shame LGBT people and thinking they are free to do the same. But I find comfort in knowing

there are millions of people that would resist and protest any sort of law promoting conversion therapy,” Alice* said.

Even students that aren’t huge supporters of the LGBT community don’t support conversion therapy.

One student who we asked if he knew what conversion therapy is responded with, “Yes, I’ve heard of it, but not looked into it much; what I do know is it sounds terrible, I would not support it because if an individual wants to live a certain way go ahead.”

Many of these students also believe some LGBT people choose to be LGBT.

One student thinks that people who are truly born LGBT do not choose but there are some people who choose to be LGBT.

“I think the arguments on both sides are very valid. People say that you don’t get to pick who you, “choose to fall in love with,” but I also think the argument of, “you choose who you give your love to” is very true,” another student said.

While many people argue about if they support conversion therapy, it has been proven to not work and to sometimes involve questionable practices.

Hallie Feil, Dean of Instructor who also teaches Psychology at WNCC is one who does not support conversion therapy.

“It can involve a variety of practices which are aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. These practices have varied through the years but have included shock treatments, lobotomies, hormone treatments, various therapies and spiritual interventions,” Feil said.

Feil said conversion therapy has actually been proven not to work.

“…it does not work. The research to support this is so strong that some states have passed laws preventing people who are licensed to provide mental health services from practicing conversion therapy,” she said.

Even with the American Psychological Association does not support conversion therapy, and many associations agree that LGBT people cannot be changed through conversion therapy, others still think conversion therapy institutions should receive federal funding.

*names changed to protect students identity

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