In this day and age, it is absurd to think that a ban on conversion therapy for vulnerable adults and minors is even being debated. But just last week, Minnesota lawmakers argued over a ban on therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation, and the ban did not pass (“Political is personal on gay ‘conversion,’ ” front page, May 11).
Conversion therapy has been prohibited in 14 states already; Minnesota has surprisingly not embraced this forward movement.
The American Psychiatric Association opposes conversion therapy as it is based on the assumption that homosexuality is inherently wrong and needs to be corrected. The advancement of conversion therapy does more harm to the individuals and helps further the narrative, with no scientific backing, that homosexuality is unethical. This is dangerous on both the individual and societal level.
As Genna Gazelka (who was sent as a teen to a therapist opposed to gay relationships) stated in the article, conversion therapy “is harassment, and it is tantamount to what could be said of torture or sexual torture.” This should not be an issue that legislators are arguing — these are people’s lives and they should be allowed to live in their own skin, embracing who they really are.
Colleen Brennan, Minneapolis
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I strongly agree that a citizen’s sexual preference(s) and gender identity should be protected and respected as a social good; for example, nondiscrimination in employment or military service. This is a civil rights issue.
I also celebrate the fact that the professional diagnosis of homosexuality since 1973 is no longer considered by the American Psychiatric Association to be a mental disorder or sickness.
Would prohibition of conversion therapy be enforced by insurance companies by denying payments to providers as third-party paymasters? By health care organizations by firing their offending therapists? By medical, psychology, social work and other professional boards by disciplining or revoking the offender’s license? By shaming patients, families or offending treating professionals in the media?
It is simply wrong-headed and counterproductive for government to mandate specific content for or censorship of a patient’s personal psychotherapy sessions.
Lee Beecher, Maple Grove
In college sports talk, academic excellence gets overshadowed
Missing in all of the columns and letters about the University of St. Thomas potentially being kicked out of its athletic conference was any reference to the outsized role that athletics play in colleges and universities (“MIAC nears consensus to oust Tommies,” front page, May 11). Schools in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference are obviously no exception. We have great academic colleges and universities, but are we sports-crazed, too? Why don’t Oxford and Cambridge need sports to get notoriety?
I can just hear the responses: Winning teams build alumni loyalty, endowments and, in many cases, make money for the school. The Final Four was just in town, and it was a very big deal for teams and fans. So are the Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl and Potato Bowl.
Where’s the balance in all this with academic excellence? It seems to me that ought to be part of the discussion in the MIAC. Or the Big Ten.
Myron Just, Minneapolis
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The Star Tribune is paying lots of attention to St. Thomas’ potential ouster from the MIAC lately. But look at the numbers: St. Thomas has an undergraduate enrollment of more than twice the size of any other MIAC school and three times that of Macalester or Carleton colleges. This puts it on par with schools such as Bemidji State, Minnesota State University Moorhead and Winona State.
Additionally, St. Thomas is, by total enrollment, the biggest private school in Minnesota. By size, then, it’s clear that St. Thomas not only should not be in the MIAC but that it shouldn’t be in NCAA Division III, either. It’s time for it to move up to Division II.
Mike Westberg, St. Paul
As corporations wake up to the danger, politicians should, too
Right after the 2018 election, a congressional staff member commented to a group of constituents (me included) that climate change did not play a role in the recent election campaigns because the issue did not move the needle. But the Star Tribune Editorial board’s welcome piece on the subject (“State firms step up on climate change,” May 11) suggests that climate change is now moving needles, including various gauges watched by corporate executives. It is heartening to read about Minnesota corporations tackling the threat posed by climate change by implementing technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We can only hope that the intelligence and good sense displayed by corporations in Minnesota and elsewhere will influence politicians who continue to tie their futures and the future of the earth to oil and coal interests, refusing to admit in public that climate change is a threat and allying with religious groups who think their faith depends on denying science. We have many tools to combat climate change. Can we hope that the actions of private corporations can firm up political will to implement them?
Rosemary Schwedes, Edina
It’s easy to play devil’s advocate for Calhoun, but that’s irrelevant
In his recent commentary, D.J. Tice had my eager attention when he advertised that his argument to preserve the name “Calhoun” would go “beyond attachment to what’s familiar” (“Putting history on trial can be tricky: The case for Calhoun,” May 12). I was disappointed when his argument revealed itself to be another one rooted in a preference for the status quo.
It’s easy to play devil’s advocate for Calhoun. Was he really less moral than other revered historical figures like Jefferson or Washington? Is our own generation morally superior to Calhoun’s? But these questions are irrelevant to the matter at hand.
Calhoun may not have been more evil than others in his time, or even ours. But that’s hardly justification to name one of Minneapolis’ most treasured lakes after him.
Aside from red-herring comparisons to other historical figures, the only argument I’ve heard in favor of preserving the name “Calhoun” is that the lake already bears it, and nobody can decide who holds the authority to change it.
Seems a bit ironic. Two hundred years ago, those who lived near the lake knew it as Bde Maka Ska, and Calhoun’s surveyors renamed it Lake Calhoun. Nobody questioned their authority to do so.
Nick Studenski, Minneapolis
We can do better than trafficking cheap insulin from Canada
Minnesotans going to Canada for affordable prescription drugs confirms there is at least one thing capitalism is incapable of providing — health care not corrupted by greed (“Insulin at a tenth the cost — in Canada,” front page, May 12).
Most of us can agree there are things government is lousy at — running a business, for example. But it’s equally obvious that private enterprise stinks at distributing medical treatment fairly and efficiently. We spend the most for the least, and we have for decades.
I believe we can do better.
Frederic J. Anderson, Minneapolis