Katherine Mccobb by AnneParmeter

Oregon lesbian sues therapist who told her to “rewire” her brain.

Much time has passed since ignorant, homophobic sexologists like Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Havelock Ellis spearheaded medical discourse. Gone are the days when “science” unanimously agreed that same-sex attraction resulted from medical “inversion” and genetic perversion. Modern medicine has now wholly debunked the idea that there is anything medically wrong, or even medically different, with same-sex people attracted. Homosexual people are, believe it or not, just humans like everyone else.

However, this truth has not stopped repeated efforts by homophobic bigots to “convert” homosexual people back to what is their “natural” state (three guesses what this is – you got it – heterosexuality). Conversion therapy can range from the psychologically intrusive (e.g. the kind of “pray the gay away” crap that we see in films like But I’m A Cheerleader) to medically and physically invasive shock therapy.

Gay conversion therapy does not work because the default setting for humans is not always “straight”. Gay people are gay, not straight. That’s the point.

Many still do not understand this, and homophobic therapists and medical practitioners worldwide still use conversion therapy.

However, legal change may be afoot in California. On July 13, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP filed a complaint on behalf of lesbian Oregon woman Katherine McCobb against California-licensed marriage and family therapist Lloyd Willey, who attempted to use conversion therapy on McCobb to “de-gay” her.

A press release from the NCLR states, “Willey told McCobb that being a lesbian is unnatural and pathological and that her sexual orientation could be changed using therapy. The practice of so-called “conversion therapy” has been discredited by the American Psychological Association and other professional counselling organizations as ineffective, unethical, and dangerous. McCobb paid Willey over $70,000 for eight years of therapy based on fraudulent, harmful lies.”

NCLR also describes how “McCobb began paying Willey for therapy when she was 25. Although she did not seek therapy because of her sexual orientation, Willey fixated on McCobb’s lesbian identity and began to pressure her to become straight, telling her that being a lesbian was unnatural and that she could “rewire” her brain. He publicly shamed her during group therapy sessions. He urged her to change her appearance to be more stereotypically feminine, including losing weight, growing her hair, changing her wardrobe, and wearing make-up. Willey also pressured her to begin dating a man who was Willey’s client.”

NCLR argues that McCobb’s trade of conversion therapy for funds constitutes fraud. NCLR Legal Director Shannon Price Minter said, “Charging a person money based on such bald-faced misrepresentations violates California’s consumer protection laws.”

If McCobb is successful in her complaint, her case could set a legal precedent, making conversion therapy practitioners legally and financially culpable for their reprehensible actions. You can read her full motion here.