Meagan Simonaire, the daughter of Maryland State Sen. Bryan Simonaire, recently revealed that her father put her through conversion therapy when she came out as bisexual.
The revelation was all the more powerful because Meagan is a legislator in the House of Delegates and only the governor’s signature remains before the practice is banned throughout Maryland. (The two Simonaires, both Republicans, are on opposite sides of this issue.)
[Meagan Simonaire,] The Republican from Pasadena, who is not seeking re-election after one term, split with her father over the measure. The senator tried to block the ban on the Senate floor last week, saying families should have the right to use “loving” conversion therapy. The bill bans licensed medical professionals from practicing the therapy on minors.
Simonaire told a “girl’s” story on the House floor as the measure was being debated, but ended the speech with the phrase “my story.” She said she supported the bill to protect children who could be at risk of suicide due to the therapy.
She said she was attracted to both men and women but ended a relationship with a woman she loved for fear of losing her family.
Upon telling her family about her attraction to women, they were “heartbroken” and “disgusted” and sought conversion therapy as an answer, she said.
Simonaire’s is a heartbreaking but all too common story. The devastating effects of conversion “therapy” are easy to find for anyone interested in educating themselves, and every reputable medical professional has discredited it.
Religion shouldn’t be used as a guise to enforce this kind of child abuse, which is exactly what it is. Simonaire’s father wants to give families the right to inflict this torture on their children without any evidence to back up its efficacy.
And now his own daughter is saying it’s wrong.
For what it’s worth, the father has since said that he didn’t force conversion therapy on Meagan. He merely suggested she talk to “various Christian counselors.” He added that she came out as an adult, not a child. Neither of those points, however, take away from how he responded to her bisexuality with a Christian course correction. It was a terrible response, no matter your religious beliefs.
Just as most Christians have come to understand the Bible never should have been used to justify slavery, hopefully a day is coming when they realize that using the Bible to vilify gay people this way is equally awful.