Both Democrat and Republican politicians have tripped over their own words and revealed a poor understanding of diversity issues or demonstrated concerning bias on major issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Generally though, the GOP tends to have a worse reputation when it comes to groups outside the party’s most common member — white males. A recent GOP stance in Texas brings this failing back up as a major problem for the party platform, an alienating problem for potential voters and contributors. So let’s take a glance back at major diversity mistakes in the past and present, starting with the recent events in Texas.
1. Reparative therapy
The Texas Republican Party has taken a major step back from LGBTQ friendliness with its recent decision to stand in favor of “reparative therapy” for homosexuality. The support is an oppositional stance to laws in California and New Jersey that outlawed what they call “gay-conversion therapy.” California‘s law went to the federal appeals court last year after Governor Jerry Brown signed the law prohibiting such therapy methods for individuals under the age of 18. “California has authority to prohibit licensed mental health providers from administering therapies that the legislature has deemed harmful,” read the judge’s opinion. “A licensed mental health provider’s use of SOCE (therapies seeking to change sexual orientation) on a patient under 18 years of age is ‘considered unprofessional conduct,’ which will subject that provider to ‘discipline by the licensing entity for that mental health provider.”
The court found that the practice brought about safety concerns due to “anecdotal reports of harm,” that it did not infringe on freedom of speech, and that positive reports on the therapy were insufficient. “[Gay-conversion therapy] could have some minor effects to perhaps tell someone they’re not alone, but those effects are not unique. They are what happens if you go to any therapy,” said Dr. Judith Glassgold to MSNBC. Glassgold is part of the task force that published the Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation Report.