Through the Looking Glass: Conversion Therapy! Gender-Bending! And Gifs!


Hello boys and girls, welcome to this week’s episode of “Through the Looking Glass,” the exciting reality game show where players try to make sense of the weekly news in the wild and wacky Wonderland of 21st century America.

So, what head-pounding, mind-numbing craziness will we attempt to sort out this week?

Let’s start with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s decision to sign a law banning “conversion therapy” for teens struggling with same-sex attraction.

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This past Tuesday, New Jersey became the second such state (California being the first), to make it illegal for therapists to help teenagers address their feelings of same-sex attraction in any way other than one: a way that affirms those feelings.

Granted, not all therapists are created equal. Some do good. Others do harm. (Sidenote: Can someone please come up with a better name for this than “conversion therapy”? It makes it seem like merely “switching teams” is the ultimate goal, not sexual integration, peace, and wholeness. )

Regardless, this particular ban applies across the board. Which is to say, no matter how how good or bad the therapist is, no matter how much the teen may long to work through the issues they believe underlie their struggle with same-sex attraction, and no matter what particular approach the therapist takes, New Jersey now says to every single type of therapist/client interaction that doesn’t affirm same-sex attraction…

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LGBT activists are, naturally enough, doing backflips over Christie’s decision.


In and of itself, I know that story has some of you heading to the kitchen for strong drink. But wait, there’s more.

On this week’s episode of “Through the Looking Glass,” you don’t just get to make sense of that story. You also need to reconcile it with the announcement celebrating the decision of Bradley Manning (the Wikileaks leaker) to be known henceforth as Chelsea…or Breanna (he can’t seem to make up his mind on that detail), as well as the pending decision in Maine over whether or not transgender students get to use the restroom of their choosing—boys or girls.

Yes, folks, this is where it gets tricky.

On the one hand, the LGBT movement is opposed to choice and change: They want gay teenagers to stay gay teenagers even if the aforementioned gay teenagers would rather try their hand at being straight teenagers…or even just chaste teenagers. For them, it’s all…


On the other hand, they love choice and change.

They think it’s hunky-dory if boys who think they might really be girls and girls who think they might really be boys want to change their outsides to match their supposed insides.

They’re also totally cool with parents dressing their six-year-old boys like little girls and sending them into the girls’ restroom at school.

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As for anyone who thinks it’s perhaps unwise for teens to engage in gender-bending experimentation or for little boys to grow out their hair and call themselves Sally, who, in fact, think that allowing both will just perpetuate the hurt, loneliness, and isolation with which those children already struggle and destine them for much more profound problems later in life?

Hateful. Intolerant. Utterly medieval. Obviously.

Now, residents of Reality look at these goings on in Wonderland and think, “How can two such inherently contradictory ideas reside in the same head without causing massive cranial explosions?”

Answering that question is your task for today.

Is it because….?

A)   Many supporters of both laws have been terribly wounded by people who failed to love them as they should have loved them. Not wanting to make the same mistake, but not seeing reality clearly, they’ve decided that denying children one right, while granting them the other is the most loving thing to do.

B)   The most radical of LGBT activists are so deeply invested in the choices they’ve made—namely, to act out on their same-sex attractions or undergo cross-sex hormone therapy—that anything or anyone who undermines the wisdom of those choices (such as people successfully resolving unwanted same-sex attraction or embracing chastity) must be stopped, lest their whole understanding of life, the body, the person, and the world come crumbling down.

C)   They’ve bought into a kind of post-modern Gnosticism, which sees the soul as all-important and the body as nothing more than mere matter. In other words, they think that the soul—and only the soul—is the person. According to that line of thinking, the soul is what’s real, what’s special, what’s true, perfect, and good, no changes necessary. The body, on the other hand, is only a hunk of disposable flesh—revealing nothing about the person, imaging nothing about God—and therefore able to be changed at will.


Fine, fine, I’m a broken record. But that doesn’t change the truth. And the truth is that when it comes to the body, the culture’s got it all wrong. None of us are souls simply inhabiting bodies. Our bodies aren’t mere husks. They’re not containers—interchangeable, dispensable, disposable. They are us. So, your body is you. My body is me.

Which is why Bradley Manning’s male parts aren’t incidental. Neither are they random. They express who he is and who he’s called to be: a husband, father, brother, and son, loving his bride, his children, his siblings, and his parents. Nobody’s body is meaningless matter.  Next to the Body of Christ, the human body is the most meaningful matter there is.

But, I digress. Back to the quiz. Last choice.

D)   All of the above. And probably more.

So, what’s the correct answer?

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Really, you have to think about this?

The correct answer would be “D: All of the above. And probably more.” There’s a whole lot of hurt, confusion, and crazy behind this week’s news, which means there are no simple answers about the cause.

Nevertheless, those of you who chose “C” still earned enough points to be eligible for today’s bonus round. That’s because “C”  is what underlies “A” and “B.” It helps give rise to both the wounds and the confusion, and unless our world learns to read the body rightly once more, seeing the dignity of the whole person, body and soul, we’re just going to keep traveling further and further away from Reality and deeper and deeper into Wonderland.

God only knows what insanity awaits us there.

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Okay, okay, enough of the depressing stuff. End-times, schmend times, right? Let’s now move on to the most pressing and confounding question of the week in today’s bonus round:

Why on earth did those handsome, funny guys from Duck Dynasty decide to cover up their pretty faces with such scary beards?




The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Emily Stimpson is a freelance writer, based in Steubenville, Ohio. She writes regularly on all things Catholic, with a special focus on the Church’s teachings on marriage, sexuality, and femininity. A contributing editor to Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly and Franciscan Way Magazine, her books include "These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body" and "The Catholic Girl's Survival Guide to the Single Years: The Nuts and Bolts of Staying Sane and Happy While Waiting for Mr. Right." You can read more of her writing at  

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