Fed report calls for an end to ‘conversion therapy’ for LGBTQ youth
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has come out with a report calling for an end to conversion therapy, which supposedly changes minors’ sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
The federal report– Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ— by SAMHSA stated that conversion therapy is “a practice not supported by credible evidence and has been disavowed by behavioral health experts and associations.”
According to the report, “Conversion therapy perpetuates outdated views of gender roles and identities as well as the negative stereotype that being a sexual or gender minority or identifying as LGBTQ is an abnormal aspect of human development. Most importantly, it may put young people at risk of serious harm.”
Conversion therapy and its dangers
Conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, is defined as any treatment that changes an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity from homosexual to heterosexual. Most of the techniques used in conversion therapy include a variety of behavioral, cognitive, psychoanalytic, and other practices.
However, a number of medical associations have ruled that these therapies are devoid of scientific validity as well posing serious dangers to patients– especially minors, who are often forced to undergo them by their parents or legal guardians.
In a 2009 report by the American Psychological Association, some of the techniques used here include: inducing nausea, vomiting, or paralysis; providing electric shocks; using shame; orgasmic reconditioning; and satiation therapy.
More importantly, these techniques are based on the scientifically-discredited premise that being LGBTQ is a defect or disorder.
Outrage against conversion therapy
President Barack Obama has already spoken against conversion therapy following the death of 17-year-old transgender Leelah Alcorn. Alcorn died after being forced to attend conversion therapy by her parents.
Pres. Obama issued the statement after a petition was filed calling for a ban on conversion therapy. Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett wrote in response to the petition that, “As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”
Likewise, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) has already filed legislation– called the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act– that would consider conversion therapy as a fraudulent practice and would be illegal under the Federal Trade Commission Act.
Report on conversion therapy
The report stated that: “Given that conversion therapy is not an appropriate therapeutic intervention, efforts should be taken to end the practice of conversion therapy.”
The report noted that future efforts against conversion therapy may include “improved provider training, federal regulatory action, advancement of legislation at the state and federal level, and additional activities by the Obama administration.