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 Dodges and Gives an Accidentally Revealing Answer When Confronted on His Anti-LGBT Policies
When President Donald Trump was asked Tuesday about whether he supports his administration’s anti-LGBT policies — including a new rule that would make it easier for employers to discriminate — he gave what seemed to be an unintentionally revealing answer.
REPORTER: Mr POTUS, your administration has been taking steps to make it easier to discriminate against LGBT people in the workforce. Are you okay with that?
TRUMP: Well, the Log Cabin Republicans endorsed me… I’ve done very well w/ that community. Peter Thiel & so many others pic.twitter.com/W0OMKMzEkT
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 20, 2019
The issue was raised by reporter Chris Johnson from the Washington Blade:
Washington Blade: Mr. President, your administration has been taking steps to make it easier to discriminate against LGBT people in the workforce. Are you OK with those actions?
Trump: Well, you know, I just got an award and an endorsement yesterday from the exact group. You saw that? They gave me the endorsement yesterday. I was very honored. It was Log Cabin. The Log Cabin, and I was very honored to receive it.
I’ve done very well with that community and some of my biggest supporters are of that community, and I talk to them a lot about it. I think I’ve done really very well with that community, as you know, Peter Thiel and so many others, they’re — they’re with me all the way, and they like the job I’m doing, and I just got a big endorsement from the Log Cabin group.
Washington Blade: But what about those actions?
Having ignored the actual substance of the question, Trump didn’t answer the follow-up.
And contrary to what he said, the vast majority of the LGBT community does not and has not supported him. In 2016, Pew Research found:
Gay, lesbian and bisexual voters may make up a relatively small share of the American electorate – just 5% of voters in the 2012 general election identified as LGB, according to national exit polls – but they have long been a deeply Democratic constituency and today are overwhelmingly negative in their assessments of Donald Trump.
Nearly nine-in-ten LGB voters (89%) give the Republican presidential nominee a rating of cold on a “feeling thermometer” that ranges from 0 (the coldest, most negative rating) to 100 (the warmest, most positive score). About eight-in-ten (82%) rate Trump very cold, including more than half (54%) who give him a score of 0. Just 9% of LGB voters rate Trump warm.
But this doesn’t matter much to Trump, because he only cares about his supporters. So when asked about the LGBT community, he begins talking about the Log Cabin Republicans, a fringe group that does not represent anywhere close to the majority of the community. (As it happens, Jennifer Horn, a member of the group’s board, resigned in protest over the endorsement. And contrary to Trump’s claim, it did not give him an “award.”) And by mentioning Peter Thiel, a wealthy gay investor, Trump is pulling the laughable “I have a gay friend” excuse for being a bigot. He’s refusing to respond to or even consider the actual LGBT community as a whole because he just doesn’t care.
The president has long made clear that he’s only interested in representing his supporters, not the American people as a whole. That’s why he criticizes California when it experiences natural disasters but promises Alabama “A+ treatment” after tornadoes strike. That’s why Sen. Lindsey Graham could point out that Trump wouldn’t be launching racist attacks at a Somali refugee congresswoman if she were “wearing a MAGA hat.” For him, people only deserve basic dignity and respect if they already support him. Unfortunately, the likes of Thiel and the Log Cabin Republicans have to debase themselves to get this recognition.
#25thAmendmentNow Is Now the Top Trending Topic After Trump Calls Himself ‘The Chosen One’
President Tweets He’s ‘The Second Coming of God’
President Donald Trump appeared even more unhinged on Wednesday, kicking his day off by posting tweets calling him “the second coming of God,” and the “King of Israel.” Just hours later Trump trashed the Prime Minister of Denmark, calling Mette Frederiksen’s negative response to him wanting to buy Greenland from them “nasty” – a word he generally reserves for women he does not like.
Trump says that Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comment that his idea of buying Greenland is ‘absurd’ was “nasty” and a “very not nice way of saying something.”
Via TicToc pic.twitter.com/gOZ7CAa21X
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 21, 2019
Shortly thereafter, Trump flip-flopped on his claim just 24 hours earlier that he was thinking about pushing through a payroll tax cut to help get the economy going, amid global fears of a recession. On Wednesday he told reporters he had no intention of implementing any tax cuts.
Trump also scalded veteran NBC News reporter Peter Alexander for simply asking this question: “You said Russia was kicked out of the G8 because they outsmarted Obama; in fact it was because they annexed Crimea… They’re still there, why let them back in?”
Trump shits on @PeterAlexander. “This guy is the most biased reporter — NBC. You know, I made a lot of money for NBC with ‘The Apprentice,’ & I used to like ’em, but they are the most biased. Peter is such a biased — you should be able to ask the same question in a better way.” pic.twitter.com/jneWHgOAiZ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 21, 2019
And he insisted that he would have to mollify the NRA over any changes in gun policy, while backtracking from his promise to advocate for a law ensuring complete background checks – something the NRA opposes.
But it was during that press gaggle Wednesday afternoon Trump let loose, exploding social media.
He called himself – as he looked up at the sky – “the chosen one” (photo.)
To be clear, it was in reference to his trade war with China, but the religious, messianic inference was palpable.
All this amid the President’s anti-Semitic remarks earlier in the week, when he called the vast majority of American Jews “disloyal” for not voting Republican.
“I think Jewish people that vote for a Democrat—I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,”
About 80% of Jewish Americans vote Democrat.
Oh, then Trump declared he is looking “very seriously” at signing an executive order to end the constitutionally-mandated promise of bestowing citizenship at birth to anyone born on U.S. soil.
That’s just a sample of all the insanity Trump has created in under 24 hours.
So perhaps it’s not surprise that #25thAmendmentNow is the top trending topic on Twitter right now, and has been for hours.
The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides the pathway for the Vice President to declare the President of the United States unfit to continue serving.
Trump Says He’s ‘Very Seriously’ Looking at Changing Constitutionally-Mandated Right to US Citizenship
President Donald Trump says he is looking “very seriously” at altering a constitutional right to citizenship at birth. The president made his remarks during a press gaggle during which he also called himself “the chosen one” as he looked up at the sky. Those remarks came just hours after he tweeted praise calling him “the second coming of God” and “the King of Israel.”
“We’re looking at birthright citizenship very seriously,” Trump told reporters. Birthright citizenship is mandated by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Also known as Jus soli, it dates back to English common law.
Basically the law says that any person on U.S. soil at the time of their birth is a U.S. citizen, regardless of their parent’s nationalities.
“We’re looking at that very seriously, birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land. You walk over the border, have a baby — congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen,” Trump said, calling it “absurd.”
He told reporters if he were to end it he would do so via executive order.
It’s likely that would be unconstitutional and would absolutely be fought in court.
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside,” the Constitution reads.
Watch the president discuss birthright citizenship:
President Trump: “We are looking at birthright citizenship very seriously. … It’s frankly ridiculous” pic.twitter.com/T09WT8BaBx
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 21, 2019
In addition to likely being unconstitutional, Trump’s attempt to end birthright citizenship would be opposed by many.
Here’s a University of Texas Law professor:
Look all you want, Mr. President, but there are only two ways to end birthright citizenship in this country:
Have 2/3 of both the House and the Senate pass a constitutional amendment that 38 states ratify; or
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) August 21, 2019
Here’s a conservative, National Review writer David French:
Attempting to end birthright citizenship through an executive order (should Trump carry through with his threat) would be the most egregious attempted abuse of executive authority — outside of unilateral presidential military actions — in my lifetime.
— David French (@DavidAFrench) August 21, 2019
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