|Homophobe J. Keaton|
Keaton has been quoted as saying she would tell LGBT clients that their behavior was "morally wrong" and she would try to get them to "change." She also said she would refer LGBT clients to other counselors. "Yuck, I just can't handle being around gay people! It gives me the willies!" No, she didn't really say that, but I like to imagine her saying it...and it's not that far afield to surmise, anyway.
You can read the whole story at The Bilerico Project Report. But the story made me think of my own experiences with coming out and with two therapists I had the misfortune and good luck working with. The first, who shall remain nameless, was part of a counseling program at a suburban Chicago hospital. He reassured me I could "change" and that I wasn't gay at all. No, he posited, because I had such a bad relationship with a distant, perfectionist father, I was merely seeking love and affection from other men and that, once I had a solid relationship with a good buddy, I could move on and be a straight fella, normal in every respect.
I can't tell you how much damage his "counseling" did to me and my life, delaying my acceptance of myself for many years and encouraging me to continue the self-loathing and self-denial that had, sadly, marked most of my adult life. I have a feeling this counselor would understand where Jennifer Keaton was coming from.
Thankfully, the world has changed enough to not uphold Keaton's protest that she not be expelled from her university grad program for her homophobe beliefs and her refusal to treat LGBT people as human beings.
And thankfully, for me, years later, I braced myself and went back to see another counselor. He wouldn't understand Keaton's logic. He encouraged me to accept myself. He told me to take off my mask and stop pretending to be someone or something I was not. He told me there was nothing wrong with who I was, other than the fact that I was hiding from that person at my core...that person no one knew. He showed me that until I accepted and loved myself, I couldn't really have love and acceptance from others--not in any real way. He was what a counselor should be--affirming, supportive, strengthening.
Jennifer, if you're reading this, I encourage you to think about my story. Like you, I thought my feelings were "wrong" and that I could "change". If you ever do become a counselor, Jennifer, I urge you to remember what happened to me--lines of counseling like yours can only harm. And that, to me, is not a very Christian thing to do to your fellow man or woman.