LGBT rights groups are praising a new
report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services (HHS), which finds “ex-gay” therapy
“inappropriate” for minors.
The report, titled Ending Conversion
Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth, makes “clear
that conversion therapy is not an appropriate therapeutic approach
based on the evidence.”
According to the National Center for
Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the report “confirms that conversion therapy
is an inappropriate practice that should not be utilized by mental
health practitioners, puts to rest once and for all any remaining
claims that sexual orientation or gender identity can or should be
changed, and finds that any attempt to do so 'perpetuates outdated
views of gender roles and identities as well as the negative
stereotype that being a sexual and gender minority or identifying as
LGBTQ is an abnormal aspect of human development.'”
In May, freshman Rep. Ted Lieu of
California introduced a bill that seeks to ban therapies aimed at
altering a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
In praising the report, Chad Griffin,
president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest
LGBT rights advocate, called for passage of Lieu's bill.
“Conversion therapy is child abuse,
and the Obama Administration has joined our call to ban its practice
once and for all,” said Griffin. “This is dangerous junk science
that uses fear and shame to tell young people the only way to find
love and acceptance is by changing the very nature of who they are.
Today’s new health report shows the extensive damage that so-called
conversion therapy can cause and why it’s so urgent that we end it
in all fifty states.”
Samantha Ames, a staff attorney at
NCLR, thanked the Obama administration for producing the report.
“We could not be more grateful to
SAMHSA, HHS, and the entire Obama Administration for producing such
an in-depth and lifesaving report, and to the APA for inviting us to
the table with such high caliber experts to observe the process. From
representing LGBTQ youth institutionalized for their identity to
advocating for laws protecting them from physical and psychological
abuse, NCLR has been leading the fight to end these dangerous and
discredited practices for decades. For the first time in history,
advocates are seeing our national leaders prioritize what is too
often an issue of life and death for LGBTQ youth. But, more
importantly, young people are seeing their heroes stand up for them.
We thank President Obama for his strong leadership on this issue and
look forward to using the groundbreaking findings of this report to
bring about a day when every child knows they were #BornPerfect.”
said Ames, a reference to the group's campaign to end such therapies.
Four states – New Jersey, Oregon,
Illinois and California – and the District of Columbia have banned
conversion therapy to minors.