-Your Sib, Liv

[image of out trans rights and black activist Blake Brockington wearing a green “Legalize Trans*” shirt,  who took his life on a interstate in Charlotte, NC  March 2015 ,due to depression and transphobic violence. Also brought the discussion of similar deaths: Leelah Alcorn and Ash Haffner]

Joe Gerber has taken upon himself to give his paternalistic, shoddy expertise concerning the “healthy life choices” for “confused” queer/trans youth. Such suggestions from Gerber are: promoting the harmful practice of “conversion therapy”–a dangerous treatment targeting queer/trans individuals that is illegal in many states, including Illinois. Notable medical associations such as the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry and many others have addressed that such a treatment only cause further harm and abuse towards youth, despite the encouragement of political conservatives and religious leaders.-; citing dated information, as well as misusing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to justify the stance. It’s also important to note that Gerber has no qualifications in the field of psychology or child development, and works for the fundamentalist Christian,  organization, Loving Shephard Ministries that holds an anti-LGBTQ+ stance. It is very disappointing that News-Gazette would give Gerber a platform to spout ill-informed, hatred disguised as “care and concern”.

Our local LGBTQ+ center, United Pride, has written a call for action demanding the News-Gazette to apologize for publishing the article as it misinforms and harms the lives of queer/trans youth. Writing them off as “confused” broken beings needing to be “fixed” continues to channel the institutionalized oppression of homophobia and transphobia that has had a strong history plaguing religion and the medical field. This in turn puts more queer/trans lives on the line, and with Black Lives Matter being a queer-affirming movement we will NOT and CANNOT have that happen.

What can YOU do:

Lend your voice, concerns, and support to The United Pride Center of Champaign County via Facebook or Website. You may also contact Board President, Stephanie Skora.

Fight against queer and trans violence by uplifting and listening to queer/trans voices and educating yourself.

Gerber’s Article: Let’s Help Confused Kids Make Healthy Life Choices

Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth