Against the Defence of “Ex-Gay Therapy”
US Republicans on the far right sure do love their false equivalence, especially when it comes to “scientific experts.” No matter that every major medical association decries gay conversion therapy as ineffective and potentially harmful — just find one or two people to say otherwise and suddenly there’s “compelling testimony from both sides of the issue.”
False equivalence is the rhetoric quicksand of productive debate, and Anderson Cooper isn’t having it. During a recent interview with Texas Republican Rep. Bryan Hughes about the party having added support of conversion therapy to their official platform, Hughes played the “experts are divided” card. To which Anderson replied:
“It’s really just not accurate to say that doctors are evenly divided. I could give you a list: the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselors’ Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers. They represent half a million mental health professionals, [and] they all say this is not a mental disorder. It’s not something that needs to be cured.”
The problem with speaking logic to someone who is knowingly full of shit is you can bet they aren’t going to budge. And Rep. Hughes played the part well, dodging substance and sticking to his canned bullet points. No matter that Anderson also shows a clip from his interview with former conversion guru Alan Chambers who has denounced the practice as traumatic and a waste of time.
“Does it concern you, again, that your party is now backing a form of therapy which basically every major medical organization says doesn’t work, can be harmful, and which many of the people who have been through it say it doesn’t work and is bad for kids?” Cooper asked.
It does not bother him, apparently, since all Hughes can reply with is repeating that he’s heard from “experts” and “read reports” that say otherwise. And thus the conversation goes full circle…