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Episode 1

The Anti-Trans Hate Machine

Conversion Therapy: The Disinformation Blueprint

June 1, 2023 02:16

This short film is Episode 1 of The Anti-Trans Hate Machine Animated Series, a companion to Season 2 of TransLash Media’s limited podcast series The Anti-Trans Hate Machine: A Plot Against Equality.

Every day, attacks on trans kids grow louder, and more anti-trans bills keep moving through state legislatures. How did this happen? In this episode we tell you how lessons learned by Christian Nationalists twenty years ago, in the fight to undermine gay rights by preserving conversion therapy, set the stage for today. Join us as we show how the ability to manufacture pseudoscientific theories and push them out in the mainstream across three decades led to today’s crisis.

The Anti-Trans Hate Machine Animated Series explains in easy to access videos how anti-trans pseudoscience and disinformation has become widely accepted as fact. From conversion therapy, to rapid onset gender dysphoria, to “watchful waiting,” a vast network of Christian Nationalist organizations and bad-actors have used both rightwing and mainstream media to change the way an entire nation thinks about the validity of trans people.

When most people hear the words conversion therapy, they think something from the past, something involving outlawed practices like shock therapy, lobotomies or even hypnosis.

The fundamental pillar of its ongoing use is the argument that LGBTQ+ people are confused.

So how is conversion therapy still happening?

Conversion therapy would have fizzled out in the 1970s after the APA, a leading psychological association, effectively removed homosexuality from its list of psychological disorders.

But this outraged Christian nationalists and other far-right religious ideologues continued labeling LGBTQ+ people as non-biblically sanctioned, abnormal people who need to be cured rather than encouraged and supported.

These forces began organizing in the 1980s, led by organizations like Focus on the Family and its right-wing founder, James Dobson.

Focus on the Family began platforming ex-gay organizations like Exodus International.

Dobson’s group created a list of therapists who would amplify conversion therapy messages across the country.

These therapists, alongside a network of religious camps, boarding schools and religious college programs, are why the practice remains.

And though interventions like lobotomies are no longer done, other torture methods like sleep and food deprivation and noise torture are.

Not surprisingly, starting in 2013, states began to propose bans. And today, 20 states the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 100 individual municipalities now banned conversion therapy for minors.

However, every ban has a religious exemption, meaning that this practice is allowed to continue and flourish in all 50 states.

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