She realized that she was gay.
This realization may not seem shocking in 2019 but the culture in 2005, mixed with the fact that she grew up in a conservative religious environment created shockwaves that rocked her to the core. However, in conversations with her closest friends and family it seemed like hope was not lost. They all had promised that changing her sexual orientation was attainable, if she just tried hard enough. Therefore, at 17, Amanda decided to induct herself into conversion therapy and for the next eight years undertook multiple interventions to try and change her sexual orientation.
These interventions included hours of talk therapy, training to become “adequately” feminine, and a strong discipline regimen. After eight years, she once again realized that her orientation was unchanged.
This realization destroyed her. “Afterall,” she thought, “my orientation only hurts myself and others. If I can’t change my orientation, then I refuse to hurt others anymore.” That is when Amanda committed herself to ending her life.
In 2010, the American Psychological Association tested the claims of conversion therapy and concluded that instead of changing orientation, conversion therapy only increased the risk of self-harm, poor self-esteem, promiscuous sex, drug use, and death.
Last year, in 2018, the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law, estimated that 20,000 LGBT youth ages 13-17 will receive conversion therapy by the very health professionals that are sworn to protect them.
Since the publication of this research, 17 states have enacted legislation banning conversion therapy in an effort to protect minors from this dangerous and ineffective practice. On April 24th, 2019 Michigan Senator Mallory McMorrow introduced a bill to enable Michigan to become the 18th state to protect Michigan youth. This bill, SB 0284, bans all health professionals from performing conversion therapy on anyone under the age of 18.
Senate Bill 0284 is the third proposed bill banning these practices since 2016. All previous conversion therapy bills died on the committee floor. In order to stop these practices from preying on Michigan’s most vulnerable, please reach out to Senate Chairman Curt Vanderwall and urge him to move the bill forward.
Contact information for Senator Vanderwall: P.O. Box 30036, Lansing, MI, 48909, (517) 373-1725, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
As for Amanda, when she realized that all her efforts to change were in vain she changed her prayers from “God, let me be straight.” to “God, please let me die in a car accident.” On August 25th, 2015 she experienced the car accident that she had prayed for. However, her life didn’t end that day.
After the accident, Amanda slowly learned to fall in love with being alive. Currently she is pursuing her Masters in Social Work at Michigan State University, and devotes much of her time and energy to making sure that no one begs for death like she did.
Although it may not come as a surprise, Amanda and this author are one in the same. Join me, in protecting Michigan youth.