September 16, 2020
‘Conversion therapy,’ also known as ‘reparative therapy’ is widely considered to be dangerous. This therapy falsely claims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. These practices are also rejected by mainstream medical and mental organizations. But, there are some practitioners who still conduct this type of therapy and harm the LGBTQ community. This therapy often leads to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide. Minors are especially vulnerable to conversion therapy.
The topic of conversion therapy in the US
In the US, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this harmful practice. Some of these state laws were even enacted under Republican governors. This just goes to show how serious the issue actually is. The municipalities of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mic
A recent report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, an estimated 20,000 LGBTQ minors in states without protections will be subjected to conversion therapy by a licensed healthcare professional if state officials fail to act. In 2018, several national organizations stood against conversion therapy. Millions of licensed medical and mental health care professionals and educators represented these organizations.
A 2007 review by the American Psychological Association task force found very little methodologically sound research. The review stated, “results of scientifically valid research indicate that it is unlikely that individuals will be able to reduce same-sex attractions or increase other-sex sexual attractions through SOCE.” In short, there is clear evidence that conversion therapy does not work.
However, there is a lot of evidence that points to societal prejudice causing more harm for LGBTQ people. Here are some states that back this up:
Organizational takes on conversion therapy
American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry
This organization stated that they “find no evidence to support the application of any ‘therapeutic intervention’.” They also stated that “such ‘conversion therapies’ lack scientific credibility and clinical utility. Additionally, there is evidence that such interventions are harmful.”
They concluded, “‘ conversion therapies’ should not be part of any behavioral health treatment of children and adolescents.”
American College of Physicians
“The College opposes the use of “conversion,” “reorientation,” or “reparative” therapy for the treatment of LGBTQ persons.”
American Psychiatric Association
In 1997 APA produced a fact sheet on homosexual and bisexual issues. This states that “there is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of ‘reparative therapy’.” Also, the fact sheet states, “The potential risks of ‘reparative therapy’ are great and include depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior”.
The APA concluded by stating, “APA opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy.”
World Psychiatric Association
The WPA also had their own say on the matter. Here is WPA’s statement on the issue:
“WPA considers same-sex attraction, orientation, and behaviour as normal variants of human sexuality. It recognises the multi-factorial causation of human sexuality, orientation, behaviour, and lifestyle. It acknowledges the lack of scientific efficacy of treatments that attempt to change sexual orientation and highlights the harm and adverse effects of such ‘therapies’.”
Even People from the Government agree.
People from the US government also agree that conversion therapy is harmful and have advised against it. Here are some notable people and their statements regarding the same.
Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York
“Conversion therapy is a hateful and fundamentally flawed practice that is counter to everything this state stands for. New York has been at the forefront of acceptance and equality for the LGBTQ community for decades – and today we are continuing that legacy and leading by example. We will not allow the misguided and the intolerant to punish LGBTQ young people for simply being who they are.”
Jerry Brown, Governor of California
“These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.”
These statements stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. They also showcase how serious the above issue of conversion therapy really is. Moreover, conversion therapy’s harmful impact is very evident. Thus, It’s high time we stand against this practice and bring it to an end.