Here at Latino Rebels, our founder has a saying that he uses a lot: “Puerto Rico is the real Macondo.”
The latest example from the island’s debate over conversion therapy. A bill that would prohibit conversion therapy for minors was blocked by Puerto Rico’s New Progressive Party (PNP) pro-statehood party on Monday. Despite a move by PNP senator Zoé Laboy to open up the legislative process on this issue, others in the PNP were noy having it.
Two of those voices went on record with Puerto Rico’s Primera Hora to express their support of conversion therapy.
“If I have a son and he tells me that he likes boys, well, one would take him to professionals to see if this behavior is ok,” Rep. Jorge Navarro. said.
“If I were the dad, nobody could take that power away from me. If I understand that my son needs to go to therapy, I would take him,” Rep. Juan Oscar Morales said.
Morales also added this: “For those parents who want to take their son there, why would we want to prohibit it? It’s a decision from a parent.”
Other PNP-ers were not as forceful in sharing their views, according to Primera Hora, but they didn’t believe that Puerto Rico should ban the therapy for minors.
Maybe these legislators need to read up more on why conversion therapy is dangerous and harmful. As Human Rights Campaign states:
So-called “conversion therapy,” sometimes known as “reparative therapy,” is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades, but due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.
The HRC report also listed all the organizations that clearly oppose conversion therapy for minors, as more and more states and municipalities are beginning to ban this practice.
But welcome to Macondo, right?
Here’s hoping Puerto Rico’s legislators wake up to reality.
It’s not a good look at all.
UPDATE, March 20, 6:25pm
Governor Ricardo Rosselló, also the head of the PNP, made it clear that he doesn’t support conversion therapy at all:
What @ricardorossello said today about the #conversiontherapy debate on #PuertoRico. Maybe his fellow #PNP legalislators will learn from this. Strong words from the governor. pic.twitter.com/Qcc1krJPZf
— Julio Ricardo Varela (@julito77) March 20, 2019
This is not just the PNP. That is a widely-shared opinion in Puerto Rico. And it is a crying shame.
The senator seems to want to keep the power to shame, terrorize and traumatize his male children.
[…] The other bill being shelved would have banned conversion therapy for minors except in cases of religious exemptions. The original conversion therapy bill sought to ban the practice, and in March, a heated debate in the Senate led Rosselló to just ban the practice altogether through executive order. […]