Trump uses last days to appoint anti-LGBTQ radical to 'key position'

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Marcus Bachmann owns a clinic that reportedly practices widely rejected anti-LGBTQ 'conversion therapy.'

On Tuesday, the White House released a list of people to be appointed by Donald Trump to "key posts" in the administration. Among them is Marcus Bachmann, who runs a Christian counseling clinic in Minnesota that carries out so-called conversion therapy, an unproven and widely rejected practice through which LGBTQ people are told that their orientation or gender is wrong and is something they can and should change.

The American Psychiatric Association has long opposed "conversion therapy" and says it is harmful to LGBTQ people and has "not been scientifically validated." In the United States, 20 states have bans on "conversion therapy" for minors.

Trump chose Bachmann to be a member of the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, an advisory body to the president and the Department of Health and Human Services originally instituted in 1961 by John F. Kennedy.

Bachmann is the husband of Michele Bachmann, the far-right former member of Congress and 2012 presidential candidate.

News investigations over the past decade have revealed information about the therapists and "treatment" at Bachmann's clinic, which rebranded itself from Bachmann & Associates to Counseling Care in 2013. The therapists vocally disapprove of queer people and tell them they can learn to be straight if they try hard enough and pray on it.

For example, in 2011, the Nation reported that a number of years earlier, Andrew Ramirez, a gay teenager, went to see a therapist at the clinic at the behest of his conservative family. Ramirez told the magazine that his therapist instructed him to read the Bible and said they could connect him with a church for so-called former queer people and  an "ex-lesbian mentor." The same year, ABC's "Nightline" aired a video showing a therapist at the clinic telling a gay man he could "be totally free" of his attraction to men.

Bachmann himself said in 2010, when asked about advice he'd give to families with queer children, "We have to understand: barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn't mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That's what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps."

Bachmann has denied that his clinic engages in anything normally involved in conversion therapy. He told the Star-Tribune in 2017, "It's not who we are. It's not something we would ever do."

In his last few weeks in the White House, Trump has continued his assault on LGBTQ rights. His administration has finalized rules that would harm LGBTQ asylum-seekers, people who seek social services, and workers.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.