The Creation and Inflation of Prevalence Statistics: The Case of “Conversion Therapy,” by Christopher H. Rosik, Ph.D.:
Should anyone have enough curiosity to ask, “How does Born Perfect NC define conversion therapy?” that person would discover the following:
Conversion therapy, also referred to as “reparative therapy,” is the practice of attempting to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Techniques can range from extreme electroshock treatments or institutionalization to “counseling” services based on pseudoscience (Born Perfect NC, n.d.).
If citing such statistics is an example of the William Institute’s objectivity and rigor, then they appear to set a very low bar indeed for these standards. That professional change-allowing therapies do not use electroshock or other aversive and coercive practices is well-known with the LGBT academic community, as was recently acknowledged by the acclaimed LGBT legal advocate and University of Utah College of Law professor Clifford Rosky, who stated to the gay press (“Watered down anti-conversion therapy bill,” 2019), “Licensed therapists haven’t been doing electric shock therapy and adversant [sic] practices in decades.” Thus, when one digs into the facts of this polling, the real story is not that 90% of North Carolinians support banning conversion therapy for minors. No one I know would support such practices as they are depicted. The real story of an impartial and honest accounting about this polling, one free of advocacy objectives, is that 10% of respondents apparently support institutionalized electroshock treatments of sexual minority minors. In a less politically contaminated environment, scholars such as those affiliated with the Williams Institute would seek out and align with Alliance professionals to jointly counter such public sentiment. However, by uncritically adopting this polling for advocacy purposes, the Williams Institute seems to have engaged in sloppy science at best or, at worst, a conscious effort to manipulate public opinion about change-allowing talk therapies through their use of a prejudicial and deceptive Born Perfect NC survey. Their independent inquiry and research appears to include independence from exposure to alternate critical perspectives that could have identified and constrained such excesses, which are common to groupthink and confirmation bias dynamics.