CBS' 'Criminal Minds' Offends by Linking Conversion Therapy to Serial Killer
When I was a young man, I lived a gay life. But my dream was to marry a woman and have a family, so I sought to change my homosexual attractions. Today, I'm living my dream! I am married to a beautiful woman, and together we have three wonderful children. As a psychotherapist, I am passionate about helping other persons who struggle with their homosexual feelings…some want to change, while others just want to be heard, understood, and loved.
I believe in equality and respect for all views of sexuality, and that's why I defend everyone's right to live their lives according to their own values. Although the gay life wasn't for me, I sincerely love the entire Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. But what the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) aired on February 20, 2013 was outrageous and reprehensible! It deeply offended me and my family, my clients and their families, and the counselors that help them.
The episode of "Criminal Minds" on CBS followed a team of FBI investigators tracking a serial killer who is murdering women and gay men in a series of sex crimes. Titled: "Broken," it quickly became defamatory when investigators discover that the killer attended a "conversion therapy camp" as a teenager to overcome same-sex attractions (SSA).
What is even more disturbing is how CBS portrays the motives of the killer. Due to his Christian upbringing, the Bible's scriptures on homosexuality are the key force behind his violence. The FBI traces the time of the killings, 6:22pm, to a passage in the Old Testament/Torah book, Leviticus (18:22) that quotes: " Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
"He converted 18:22 to 6:22pm, like military time . . . it wouldn't be the first time someone took the good book and twisted it for their own agenda," says the FBI agent.
The scene then changes to a flashback where the teenage serial killer is confessing his attraction of another schoolboy to his father, who is outraged, refusing to accept his son's homosexual feelings.
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Investigators then comment: "This man can't accept his same-sex desires, but he can't fight them either. He's most likely been repressing all sexual urges for quite some time . . . but he's trapped in a scenario with an impossible outcome. He can't force himself to like women, so when he's unable to get aroused he becomes depressed again and lashes out in anger to the people he blames for his impotence. The circular logic dictating his never-ending cycle was not formed overnight, it most likely came about from years of serious abuse, either emotional, physical, or both."
The scene then flashes back to the father, trying to force his son to have sex with a prostitute in order to make him a "real man," presumably to rid the boy of homosexual feelings.
The investigators then instruct the other FBI agents searching for the killer: "The most popular motive for trying to overcome same-sex attraction is the need to be accepted by the parent or loved one who has rejected the individual because of their homosexuality. So focus on men who grew up in a broken home, who suffered under the guardianship of a domineering parent as well as those who fell victim to bigotry or bullying."
As the plot unfolds, it appears that the conversion camp makes the killer believe that acting on his SSA is wrong, which causes him to repress his sexual urges, and ultimately, resort to violently attacking people due to these conflicts around his homosexual feelings.
During the episode, CBS portrays therapists and ministries that seek to help persons with unwanted SSA out to be child abusing religious cults, capitalizing on the fears of homophobic parents who have gay children.
"There doesn't seem to be much room for self-expression," comments the FBI agent.
"We try to keep things as uniformed as possible. We're not trying to stifle them; it's just that progressive behavior can unravel their recovery efforts," comments the camp director.
"Such as colors?"
"Earth tones such as brown or tan are the go-to, navy blue if the color doesn't fade or become too bright," commented the camp director.
"Because light blue would be too feminine…"
"Exactly, " comments the camp director.
The camp director then explains that the "therapy" has participants partake in masculine activities, such as auto work, to reinforce traditional gender roles. For participants that do not follow the rules, enhanced therapeutic methods are used.
The episode claims that these camps border on "torture" in the methods used to convert gays to straight. When the FBI questions the ethics of the camp's leader, his only comment is, "I have parental consent."
The show's premise that clients seek to change their homosexual feelings because of internalized homophobia, and that parents who support their children's right to seek counseling are really abusive bigots, is simply outrageous.
SOCE is portrayed as a simplistic set of outdated and barbaric methods, making professional therapists look like brainwashing, unenlightened extremists who are taking part in illegal activities for financial profit without any concern for the welfare of children.
The truth is methods such as electroshock therapy haven't been used since the 1950s, where they were employed to treat a variety of disorders such as depression and other mental illnesses. That CBS actually believes such techniques are a common method of SOCE, let alone any therapeutic practice in 2013 is unrealistic. It is clear that the producers of "Criminal Minds" have an agenda to influence public opinion.
It just so happens that the episode aired at a critical time when the 9 th Circuit Court of Appeals is in the process of ruling on the legality of SOCE therapy for minors in the state of California. At a time when activists are pushing legislation through other state legislatures in the effort to ban SOCE, CBS is guilty of putting politics about the well being of children.
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