Ken Blackwell, tapped last week by President-elect Donald Trump to head domestic policy during the businessman’s transition to the White House, has made anti-LGBT statements for years. Among them: Homosexuality is a sin, and gay people, just like petty thieves and fire-setters, can be rehabilitated.
The Ohio politician has long endorsed a controversial mental health practice known as conversion therapy or reparative therapy. The goal is to cure a person of his or her homosexuality, and in the case of transgender people, to reaffirm the gender into which they were born.
In the past, treatments have included inducing vomiting and using mild electric shock while patients viewed homoerotic images. Since the 1990s, however, the therapy has been denounced by many medical and scientific societies and even outlawed in a handful of states. In 2015, the Obama administration expressed disapproval of the practice after Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender teen, took her life in Ohio after being forced by her parents to undergo conversion counseling.
While Blackwell will be overseeing a wide swath of domestic issues facing the new administration, one big question facing the LGBT community is whether a Trump administration will promote the discredited therapy.
I love the feigned neutrality — “one big question” is whether a Trump administration will tacitly or overtly encourage methods that break or destroy homosexual men and women.