Lesbian Recounts 8 Months of ‘Reparative Therapy’ Torture in Utah
A lesbian Mormon teenager was forced to wear a backpack full of stones for 18 hours a day as part of an effort to make her straight, she reveals in a new book.Â
When Alex Cooper, now 21, came out to her Mormon parents in 2009 at the age of 15, they first kicked her out, then decided they were going to “fix” her.
They took her to the home of fellow Mormons Tiana and Johnny SialeÂ in St. George, Utah, where Cooper was subject to eight months of captivity and torture, according to her book, Saving Alex.
The Siales, who had no licenses or training in counseling, would force Cooper to stand facing a wall holding a backpack full of stones so she would “feel the burden she was carrying by choosing to be gay.”
“I felt angry, indignant, determined to find a way out,” Cooper writes. “Then the loneliness settled in.”Â
The Siales told Cooper: “Your family doesn’t want you. God has no place for people like you in His plan.” She developed sores on her shoulders and cramps in her back.Â Cooper attempted suicide and repeatedly tried to escape, but when she was caught, the Siales allegedly beat her.Â
“I came to my feet in front of him,” Cooper writes. “He made a fist and punched me in the gut, knocking the wind out of me. I doubled over and choked for breath.”
Cooper says visitors to the Siales’ home in heavily Mormon St. George knew about the abuse, but did nothing to stop it. Â
Reading her book, Saving Alex, I broke down in bitter tears, amazed how religion separates families in the name of “love” 🙁 @saving_alex
â€” Monica Jean (@MonicaJeaninTN) March 8, 2016
Finally, the Siales allowed Cooper to attend a local high school, where she discovered the Gay-Straight Alliance. She was introduced to a Salt Lake City attorney, Paul Burke, who fought for a year to obtain a court order barring her parents from forcing her into reparative therapy.Â Cooper was the first openly gayÂ teenager to win such legal protections in Utah.
Cooper, who now lives as an out lesbian in Portland, Oregon, and is no longer a practicing Mormon, ultimately chose not to prosecute the Siales.Â
â€œAs long as I was sitting in a courtroom looking at them I couldnâ€™t move on with my life, and thatâ€™s what I needed to do,â€ Cooper said of the Siales in an interview with Publishers Weekly.Â
She has also reconciled with her parents, saying she believes they were only doing what they felt was right, and following the tenets of the Mormon faith.Â
“I think that’s what a lot of parents are under the impression of, that they’re doing the best thing for their child,” Cooper told The Salt Lake Tribune.Â
“I don’t blame my parents,” Cooper told KUTV. “I am able to share my life with them, and it’s awesome.”
â€” joanna brooks (@askmormongirl) March 13, 2016
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which once conducted shock and vomit aversion therapy on homosexual members at Brigham Young University, no longer advocates so-called “reparative therapy.” However, it still teaches that gay sex is sinful, and in November the church unveiled a policy declaring same-sex couples “apostates” and barring their children from being baptized.Â
More than 30 young LGBT Mormons reportedly have committed suicide in the wake of the policy.Â
In response to Cooper’s book, the Mormon church issued a statement saying it “denounces any therapy that subjects an individual to abusive practices,” according to KUTV.Â
“We hope those who experience the complex realities of same-sex attraction find compassion and understanding from family members, professional counselors and church members,”Â LDS spokesman Eric Hawkins said. Â
Image via FacebookÂ
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Trump Attacks Pelosi for Criticizing Birx – Then Attacks Birx for Telling the Truth Pandemic Is ‘Extraordinarily Widespread’
As the coronavirus pandemic death toll quickly approaches 160,000 Americans, President Donald Trump continues to attack and try to discredit the most prominent public faces of his Coronavirus Task Force. This time, instead of slamming Dr. Anthony Fauci, he’s going after Dr. Deborah Birx, calling her “pathetic” – and saying she “took the bait & hit us” after she was chastised by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Trump appears to be furious that Dr. Birx over the weekend told the truth about the state of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. While many countries have been able to get the virus under control, the United States is still deep within its first wave – meaning the fall and winter seasons should be especially deadly.
Birx admitted the pandemic is “extraordinarily widespread” in the U.S., countering Trump’s false claims.
“It’s not super spreading individuals, it’s super spreading events and we need to stop those,” Birx said on CNN. “We definitely need to take more precautions.”
Trump hit back Monday morning:
So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics. In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2020
Speaker Pelosi acknowledged she does not have confidence in Birx.
“I think the president has been spreading disinformation about the virus and she is his appointee so, I don’t have confidence there, no,” Speaker Pelosi tells @MarthaRaddatz when asked is she has confidence in Dr. Deborah Birx. https://t.co/AcRMp08uJm pic.twitter.com/delRukW4YK
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 2, 2020
The American public has also criticized Birx for several reasons, including being overly positive and not leveling with them. She’s also come under attack after news reports revealed her dangerously false projections about the coronavirus pandemic suggested the virus would burn itself out months ago, leading the White House to push re-opening the country.
Birx first came under scrutiny after telling reporters Trump understands the coronavirus data at a “granular level,” suggesting he had a handle on the pandemic when it was clear he did not. She later took fire for sitting idly by instead of correcting the President as Trump announced to the nation he believed scientists should study the effects of injecting disinfectants into the human body. Those remarks lead to a tremendous uptick in people misusing common household items like bleach, causing increased hospitalizations and calls to poison control centers. One third of Americans, according to a study, admitted to misusing the chemicals.
Expert on Authoritarian Regimes Explains How Trump Is Creating a Crisis to ‘Cling to Power’
This week, as the economy revealed that the U.S. GDP cratered, President Donald Trump teased putting a hold on the November election. While it is unclear if the president was attempting to distract from the economy in freefall or his falling poll numbers.
Historian and expert on authoritarian regimes, Professor Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, describing the key ways to spot authoritarianism.
“Do we have any reason to believe that Mr. Trump would accept the outcome of the election?” asked the Yale professor. “The tweet of July 30th was a very clear statement, but he has literally, dozens of times before said he wouldn’t. There is nothing in his career that indicates he actually likes democracy. In this particular tweet, we have a dangerous mixture, where he’s talking about a problem he created himself, insofar as we do have problems with voting in the U.S. They have to do with things like African-Americans not being enfranchised, they have to do with the things of foreign intervention. And even the problems he mentioned, which is postal voting, which is good and of itself, that might be slowed down because of his own postmaster general. So, he’s talking about problems he caused himself, then claiming they’re an emergency, and using that as a reason to claim power himself. That’s a manufactured emergency and that is, in fact, a prime historical fascist tactic.”
He went on to explain that a fascist is someone who will often manufacture a crisis, blame it on the other side, and then use the crisis to his own benefit. In Trump’s case, vote-by-mail has become the enemy as Republicans continue to defund the post office and Republicans in several states were caught in absentee-voter crimes.
Snyder said that Trump has already manufactured his crisis and is now trying to create the solution that would best protect him and his power.
“Another element of this, which is worth paying attention to, is the way the tweet ends,” he continued. “People can console themselves by saying Mr. Trump can’t himself cancel the election. That’s true, but what he is doing, as of July 30th, is calling upon others to create a mess, so that the election won’t go through smoothly. That’s what the three question marks at the end mean. He can’t do it himself.”
As of the time Trump sent that tweet, Snyder said that anyone who continues to support Trump knows they are doing so in defiance of democratic values of America.
“As of July 30th, if you support Mr. Trump, if you’re planning on voting for Mr. Trump, if you contribute to the campaign, if you’re a delegate, you know perfectly well, this is a man who doesn’t believe he can win by the normal vote count,” said Snyder. “You know you are taking part now in a campaign which is no longer a democratic campaign, but which is something else. You know that his main task for you now is not to win an election. He’s basically conceded defeat already. His main task for you now is to find someone who can mess up the election so we can cling to power. I think that’s a big moral question where a lot of Americans should be thinking about the choices they’re about to make.”
See the full video below:
‘Will Stop at Nothing’: Trump Slammed for Calling Nevada Move to Expand Mail-In Voting an ‘Illegal Late Night Coup’
President Donald Trump is furious that lawmakers in Nevada approved legislation to expand mail-in voting by sending all registered voters a ballot. Monday morning Trump falsely called the move an “illegal late night coup” that would make it “impossible for Republicans to win the state” and accused the governor of using the coronavirus pandemic to “to steal the state.”
There is no evidence his claims are valid.
On social media Trump was mocked, lambasted, and ridiculed.
President afraid of losing election resorts to cherry picking states where he can use the courts to prevent voting by people who might vote against him. Nice.
— (((Howard Forman))) (@thehowie) August 3, 2020
in which our president admits that Republicans can’t win without suppressing the vote
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) August 3, 2020
You dumb fuck. @GovSisolak and the NVLEG passed it in the early afternoon and we're a state of above 3 million. If Florida can do mostly mail in (which is how you voted) I'm fairly confident we can handle it. Now go back to watching TV. https://t.co/0rmIQNbrIc
— Matt Johnson (@VivaMattyVegas) August 3, 2020
Weird for Trump of all people to use “clubhouse” as an epithet https://t.co/MrHjrOYFeO
— ryan teague beckwith (@ryanbeckwith) August 3, 2020
In an illegal foreign assisted coup, a racist game show host stole the presidency via the 2016 election. He’s now crying because he knows his time is up. https://t.co/lUz5fgRTfF
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) August 3, 2020
The President will stop at nothing to prevent people from voting easily. He needs a low turnout and he will use the courts to get it. https://t.co/ArqhFH0Czg
— (((Howard Forman))) (@thehowie) August 3, 2020
Or, this was a legitimate legislative effort by an independent state over which your authority amounts to precisely fuckall. https://t.co/3DCD7BKLzx
— Ben. No More, No Less. (@BJS_quire) August 3, 2020
Not a great sign when normal democratic processes to expand voting rights are described as a “coup” https://t.co/kGYPmdJi2O
— Matt Novak (@paleofuture) August 3, 2020
“Post Office could never handle the traffic of mail-in votes without preparation”
– says @realDonaldTrump who defunded and decimated the Post Office, put a donor in charge of it (a man who told letter carriers to slow down deliveries), and won’t let it access $ it was loaned. https://t.co/V0KaTuB2ON
— Adrienne Watson (@Adrienne_DNC) August 3, 2020
— Rep Richard Dangler (@RDangler) August 3, 2020
A Presidential admission that if everyone is allowed to vote and all the votes are counted, Republicans can’t win. See you in court –courtesy of the New York AG. https://t.co/lphOE2Ttnp
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) August 3, 2020
RESIGN and escape to Moscow while you can. https://t.co/Hy8vDRnpTU
— Rosie Punch (@RosiePunch) August 3, 2020
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