Bi Republican comes out over conversion ‘therapy’ bill

A Republican Senator in Maryland, USA has come out as bisexual thanks to a debate around whether so-called ‘therapy’ aimed at converting young gay and bi people to heterosexuality should be legal.

And in the days since she’s questioned her place in the party.

The Washington Blade reports a chain of events where lawmaker Meagan Simonaire discovered the blocking vote preventing such treatment being made illegal was her father’s – fellow Republican politician, Bryan Simonaire.

This led to her public disclosure during a speech on the bill that in her mid 20s, after she came out to her parent as bisexual, the immediate suggestion was to seek to cure the problem – but looking back she felt that “I don’t think it makes a difference between Christian counsellor or conversion therapy when the outcome is the same”.

It’s a hard interview, with a daughter torn between close family connection on the one hand, and the emotional and mental damage wrought by living through closeted and unacknowledged relationships. At the time of the suggestion she seek a cure for being bisexual, she was in a poor place with her mental health – the cause of course being not bisexuality but biphobia.

But in the current climate where the Republican movement is so strongly aligned with discredited ‘cure’ treatments Meagan finds herself wondering whether, having come out in the public eye at last and wanting to support positive change for LGBT people to face less discrimination, it is possible for her to remain inside the party that has been the basis of her political career.

Last October she announced she would not be restanding when her term of office expires. Maybe this is the start of her next step in life.

Meanwhile, the bill to prevent underage people being forced into bogus ‘cure’ therapy passed 95 votes to 27.