Tonawanda News

Columns

October 2, 2012

LEFFLER: Child abuse can take rare forms

I was incredibly fortunate growing up. I lived in one house from birth until I left for college. My parents were always married. I had two loving sisters in whose presence I always felt comfortable and safe. I was never made to feel ashamed at any choices I made and I never questioned my family’s support.

Now grown up, I have two beautiful daughters. I love them exactly as they are. And if they were the exact opposite of themselves, I’d still love them precisely as they are. I’m not always thrilled with the decisions they make but our occasional differences of opinion don’t cause me to love them any less. And I don’t feel the need to “fix them.”

That’s in stark contrast to some parents who feel the need to mold their children in their own image — to the point of forcing their religious and social views on them. To be sure, I’ve shared by religious and social views with my girls, but I don’t expect them to grow up to be me. In fact, I hope they don’t.

In sunny California, Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed off on legislation banning so-called “conversion therapy,” which takes perfectly happy, healthy children and attempts to alter their “defect” so it better aligns with their parents’ morality. This “defect,” it should be known up front is the kids’ sexuality.

Yes, in California — and likely other places — it is apparently common practice to bring your gay kids to a shrink so they psychologist can “scare the gay out of them.” It’s literally “scared straight,” a program that shows troubled youth the inside of a jail in hopes that they’ll never want to live there. It is, if you will, fat camp for gay kids.

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