Conversion “therapy” (sometimes called reparative “therapy”) kills.
The goal of the practice – which is nearly universally shunned in the medical community – is to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and is particularly harmful to youth. It has often led to suicide.
It is bogus. No study has demonstrated that the practice has a healing therapeutic purpose. Instead, studies have shown that it causes real harm to minors.
Leading Federal Public Health Agency Denies Effectiveness of Conversion “Therapy”
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. In a report released October 2015 titled Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth, SAMHSA asserts the following:
- Same-gender sexual orientation (including identity, behavior, and attraction) and variations in gender identity and gender expression are a part of the normal spectrum of human diversity and do not constitute a mental disorder
- None of the existing research supports the premise that mental or behavioral health interventions can alter gender identity or sexual orientation
- Interventions aimed at a fixed outcome, such as gender conformity or heterosexual orientation, including those aimed at changing gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation are coercive, can be harmful, and should not be part of behavioral health treatment
Scientific and Professional Organizations Shun The Practice
- Efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm
- Attempts to change sexual orientation may cause or exacerbate distress and poor mental health in some individuals, including depression and suicidal thoughts
In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, The American Counseling Association and the American Medical Association have all condemned conversion “therapy” – in particular when practiced on minors.
Action: Tell Your Legislators to Support These Bills
Ohio does not have a ban against this harmful practice and there is no federal ban, either. Three states (CA, NJ, OR) and D.C. have banned therapists from providing conversion “therapy” to minors.
The best way to support these bills is to call and let your legislators know that you support them and ask for their support too.