This morning I got an email from change.org telling me about a petition. I get emails like this a lot, and often I don’t do much with them, because a lot of them don’t seem like they’re going to change anyone’s mind in Washington. Thinking back to my Greenpeace days/Human Rights Campaign Fund days/a dozen other non-profits that I volunteered for days, petitions just aren’t usually a big game changer. Back then they had a points system for registering voter opinion — a form letter was worth x points, a hand-written letter was worth 5x points, a phone call was worth 10x points (in those days long-distance wasn’t free), and a petition signature was worth about 1⁄10x points. In those politically passionate days I wrote a lot of letters. One of Mark Hatfield’s aides or interns wrote me back some very enjoyable responses on his behalf. But today I signed an online petition.
It’s a petition to ban conversion therapy for minors in the state of Oregon. Conversion therapy is when you try to force someone who is gay to believe that they are not gay (remember But I’m a Cheerleader?). If you took any other personal characteristic (race, gender, liking cats or dogs, being vegan or a carnivore, etc) you would probably get about the same success rate in “converting” the subject’s feelings and beliefs about themselves, since it’s basically a combination of brainwashing and negative reinforcement that adds up to abuse. And in this case, sexual abuse. And in the case of minors, yeah, how the hell is this legal? It’s one thing if an adult wants to squash their sexuality, it’s quite another for a parent to be allowed to make that decision for their child. So, yeah. I read the bill that is the subject of the petition, HB 2307, which is currently in committee, and I signed the petition. I’ll also contact my reps directly, because, you know, points. :)
What can you do, if you live in Oregon?