Imagine that someone desperately wants to lose weight. They have been struggling with this for many years and it deeply affects them. They don't just want to lose weight so they will look better and feel better about themselves, but because they feel this is a better, healthier, more satisfying way for them to live. But try as they might, they cannot overcome their temptation to live contrary to their desire.
They finally call a hotline, seeking help and support in losing weight. They ask if it is possible for them to change.
Imagine that the person answering the phone tells them that they were born with a fat gene, God made them this way, they will always be fat, it is impossible for them to change, they should not even continue trying to change, and in fact they should embrace and be proud of their fatness.
We would be horrified and outraged by the cruelty of this response. Instead of receiving hope and support in changing his lifestyle, he has his hope snuffed out. The suffering individual who made himself vulnerable to the hotline agent may never be able to open himself up in this way again. The cruel response he received may throw him into a deep depression, possibly even driving him to suicide – the only escape left open to him.
As horrible as this sounds, it seems to be what the editors of the Times of Israel want people with same-sex attraction to be told if they wish to change. In a long and extremely slanted "investigation", they reported that men who are “struggling with their sexual identity” who voluntarily call a hotline seeking support in becoming more attracted to women, and ask if this is possible, are told that yes, it is possible.
The writers of this piece – which is not presented as an op-ed – refer to such a response in extremely charged terminology, promoting the belief that working toward “sexual reorientation” is abusive, unethical, dangerous, and can even lead to suicide. They write that scientific researchers who have not concluded that same-sex attraction is “natural” are “extremist, hateful, and anti-homosexual”. They blame religious people and conservatives for blocking legislation that would make it illegal to attempt to help a man with same-sex attraction to become attracted to women.
In other words, if the Times of Israel had their way, the next time a man with same-sex attraction called a hotline and asked if it were possible for him to become attracted to a woman, he would be informed in no uncertain terms that it is impossible, he should not try, and he should be happy just the way he is.
It doesn't matter that the person called the hotline entirely of his own volition, because this is something he deeply wants. It doesn't matter if he finds life as a homosexual contrary to his religious beliefs, which he desperately wants to uphold. It doesn't matter if he wishes to marry a woman and have children with her in the traditional way, and seeks support in achieving this goal.
No. According to the Times of Israel, offering him hope that he can achieve something he desperately wants – something which others in his position have achieved – should be illegal. Offering him this hope is extremist, abusive, hateful, dangerous, and may even drive him to suicide. Conversely, squashing that hope forever is none of these things.
By the same logic, telling a fat person that they can change their lifestyle, lose weight, and achieve their goals should be illegal for the same reasons. Telling them that they will be fat forever, it's normal, and to embrace it is loving and ethical.
Furthermore, by this same logic, if a man calls a hotline because he wishes to become a woman, he should be informed that he was born with a Y chromosome, which makes him a man, he will always be a man, it's entirely natural and normal for him to continue living as a man, and he should embrace it. Encouraging him to “reorient” himself to a herself should be considered extremist, abusive, hateful, dangerous, and a possible cause of suicide, and should be outlawed accordingly. Yet somehow those who are so strongly against helping homosexuals change their sexuality believe that men who wish to become women should be warmly encouraged, even assisted with taxpayer money.
If it is cruel and hateful to tell a fat person that they must always be fat, and that a man is a man, then it is equally cruel and hateful to tell someone with same-sex attraction who wishes to change that he cannot do so and should not try.
One can only wonder why the Times of Israel, that great bastion of liberalism and high ethical standards, would be so hateful and cruel toward the homosexuals they claim to champion.
Perhaps they should go for moral reorientation.