There are any number of reasons that Trump and his cabinet are controversial figures right now. The average citizen is more interested in politics and the news than ever before, which is pretty much entirely because our elected politicians are consistently doing and saying such outrageous (and frankly, stupid) things.
Here’s another reason to be upset with who’s currently running the country though: Mike Pence’s views on ‘conversion therapy’.
Conversion therapy, of course, is a treatment that is intended to ‘cure’ homosexuality. It’s about as archaic a concept as any you can dream up and we’ve all seen how well cures for homosexuality have plaid out throughout history.
But sure, why wouldn’t the country’s vice president still think this is a good idea?
What Does Pence Think Now?
During the election campaign, a lot of attention was given to Pence’s controversial and destructive views – as it should have been. At that time, we still had a chance to prevent the worst from happening and so people were eager to shout warnings from the rooftops.
But then they got into power anyway and everyone went a little silent.
I mean they didn’t… people are still kicking up a right fuss. But you don’t hear so much about Pence’s views on sexuality anymore.
Which is worrying because he’s now actually in a position to influence policies.
And in case you thought he was the sort to keep his personal opinions and his day job separate, think again. Famously, Pence made a statement in 2000 on his congressional campaign website that said:
“Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
Pretty damning and pretty darn scary.
But before we get the pitchforks out, let’s take a step back and do a little critical thinking. Because it has been postulated that Pence was actually referring not to LGBT rights and conversion therapy, but rather to unsafe sex practices.
Seeing as this is the only evidence for Mike Pence’s support of conversion therapy, it’s important that we tread carefully here. It’s a phrasing that is open to multiple interpretations and this uncertainty is likely largely what led to people generally toning down concerns regarding Pence’s radical views.
So there are a few questions to answer here. First: did Mike Pence really mean conversion therapy in that statement? Second: does he still feel the same way 17 years later? And third: what other views does he hold that might have implications for the LGBT community?
One thing worth considering is that the statement is clearly ambiguous (ironically) and open to interpretation. This might well have been deliberate and even if it was accidental and meant in the most innocent way possible, this is still reckless and dangerous phrasing for a politician. We’re angry at Pence, regardless of the outcome here then.