Dr. Joseph Nicolosi is dead. A shocking moment for so many of us who have been through conversion therapy. Since 1992, Nicolosi has led the way and done everything in his power to cure homosexuals.
Nicolosi believed that there is no such thing as homosexuality. He believed that every human being was born innately heterosexual and that anything of the LGBTQ+ spectrum was caused by childhood trauma… so goes his theory. Nicolosi was one of the founding members of NARTH, the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality. As a licensed professional, he and his organisation attempt to suggest that there is scientific data that backs their theory. So far, no significant research has ever been presented. In fact, virtually every major health organisation in the US and the UK have provided the data presenting the contrary. The American Psychological Association (APA) states, there is no correlation between childhood trauma and identifying sexual orientation. But none of this has every seemed to stop Nicolodi.
After going through conversion therapy for five years, I can tell you myself that conversion therapy has not worked, even more so, has had irreversible harm to myself and the loved ones around me. Every therapist that treated me during those five years was trained by or used the work of Dr. Joseph Nicolosi.
I began conversion therapy when I was 16 years old, and when I was asked to look at my life and find the trauma that I had never dealt with, I was unable to find anything. I had an extremely fortunate upbringing by very loving parents. Essentially, for conversion therapy to work, each patient must either blame someone or something for making them gay. If you aren’t born this way, then how did I get this way? This is where the rabbit hole begins.
As a teenager, I gave conversion therapy its best chance. It was only years later I could recognise the psychological abuse, manipulation, and false facts. I was estranged from my mother and sisters for three years as I was being ‘developed’ not to have any effeminate qualities, and was told to only spend time with the males in my environment until I was ready to engage in sexual activity with women. The fear presented by my conversion therapist and worried father, was that I would live a horrible life as an out gay man. This fear had me work tirelessly for conversion therapy to work. However, the fear that conversion therapy wasn’t working at all, is the very thing that had me contemplate my possible suicide for two years.
Conversion therapy is set up in such way that every patient fails to succeed. It has its own patients blame themselves for failing, and it’s those very patients that have the highest suicide rates amongst the entire LGBTQ community. This is the work of Dr. Joseph Nicolosi.
So, what do I think of his death? I wonder; is this the moment we see the biggest decline in conversion therapy? Is the work of my advocacy and our movement to end conversion therapy now more probable? It may seem hopeless in a Trump administration, however, as an advocate we have succeeded in ways we could not imagine.
Three years ago, conversion therapy was not a topic that the public knew about. If that were still true, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi’s death would have gone unnoticed. Although, through our advocacy, conversion therapy has become a national headline, even during the US election cycle, and so far, conversion therapy has become illegal for minors in five states and a handful of US cities. Nicolosi was one of those conversion therapists that challenged those laws, he was a man unwilling to compromise or work with the LGBTQ community.
He stood firm about his belief, that there is no such thing as homosexuality. He admitted once in a VICE News episode that he hasn’t broken the new California law to not practice conversion therapy on minors, because he isn’t in the business of ‘changing’ anyone. He states, there’s no such thing a homosexuality, I’m just helping my patients realise that. With that said, advocates like myself will continue our work to end this horrifying practice, and its personal goal to bring awareness and acceptance amongst all of us.