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Part 4

2005 to 2018: Trying to Convert Gays
to Heterosexuals using Reparative
Therapy.
Laws prohibiting such
therapy on minors.

symbol of gay equality 1

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This topic continues here from the previous essay

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During 2005:

Jack Drescher was a New York psychiatrist and chairperson of the American Psychiatric Association's committee on gay, lesbian and bisexual issues.

He has treated about a dozen men who had previously undergone conversion therapy. Drescher said:

"Reparative therapy is the laetrile of mental health."

"Laetrile" was the quack cancer cure banned in the United States in the 1970s. He compared it with creationism and intelligent design, which are religiously conservative beliefs about the origin of the universe and of living species on Earth.

During an interview with the Washington Post, he said:

"Many people who try this treatment tend to be desperate, very unhappy and don't know other gay people. I see people who've been very hurt by this. They spend years trying to change and are told they aren't trying hard enough."

Dr. Nicolosi, a conservative Roman Catholic, was a co-founder of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). He coined the term "reparative therapy." He said that this form of therapy:

"...can only be damaging if the agenda of the therapist supersedes that of the patient."

He claims that one third of the patients at the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic, of which he is founding director, experience:

"...significant improvement -- they understand their homosexuality and have some sense of control."

However, he notes that they may continue to engage in same-sex sexual behavior. He seems to be saying that this group of clients continue to have a homosexual orientation and engage in same-gender sexual behavior.

He states that another third are "cured;" they refrain from same-sex behavior and the strength and frequency of their same-sex desires is diminished, although not necessarily gone. This appears to refer to their homosexual patients who decide to remain celibate and not act on their sexual attractions.

The remaining third fail to change. They continue with a homosexual or bisexual orientation and behavior.

It would seem that he is admitting that reparative therapy has an almost 100% failure rate in terms of converting persons with a homosexual or bisexual orientation to a heterosexual orientation. He commented:

"We say to patients, 'Your true self is heterosexual'."

He tells male patients:

"Look at your body: It was designed to fit a woman, not a man." 2

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During 2012:

Robert Spitzer had led the successful effort during 1973 to have the American Psychiatric Association remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. The APA now recognizes homosexual orientation as a normal variant of human sexuality.

In 2003, Spitzer reached the conclusion in a study that some highly motivated individuals could change their sexual orientation. Unfortunately, most of the individuals studied in the report were referred to him by ex-gay groups. In 2012, he retracted his study.

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2012 to 2017-MAY: Actions taken by eight U.S. states and the District of Columbia to ban LGBT conversion therapy on minors:

  • 2012-SEP: California Governor Jerry Brown signed bill SB-1172 into law. It was delayed by a court case, but finally became effective on 2013-AUG-29.

  • 2013-AUG: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed bill AB 3371 into law. It became effective immediately.

  • 2014-DEC: District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray signed B20-0501 into law. It became effective on 2015-MAR-11.

  • 2015-MAY: Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed HB 2307 into law. It became effective immediately.

  • 2015-AUG: Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB 217 into law. It became effective on 2016-JAN-01.

  • 2016-FEB: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo implemented a series of state regulations which became effective on 2016-APR.

  • 2016-MAY: Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed S 132 into law. It became effective on 2016-JUL.

  • 2017-APR: New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed SB 121 into law. It became effective immediately.

  • 2017-MAY: Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed HB 6695 into law. It became effective immediately.

  • 2018-APR: By now, at least 11 states and Washington DC have banned conversion therapy by state-licensed medical professionals on minors. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice refused appeals challenging the California law.

In addition:

  • Between 2015-DEC and 2017-MAY, 18 cities have passed ordinances banning conversion therapy for minors.

  • Similar bills have been introduced into the legislatures of Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. 3

  • Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017 into the 115th U.S. Congress on 2017-APR-25. It would protect people of all ages from conversion therapy. It has been endorsed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights, PFLAG National, National Center for Transgender Equality, GLSEN, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of School Psychologists, School Social Work Association of America, American Counseling Association, Equality California, Los Angeles LGBT Center, National Association of Secondary School Principals, American Psychoanalytic Association, and American School Counselor Association. He also introduced a bill into the previous Congress, but it did not proceed. 4

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2016-MAY: The Southern Poverty Law Center released a report titled: "‘Conversion Therapists,’ the Anti-LGBT Right, and the Demonization of Homosexuality:"

The heading reads:

"This is a report about junk science and some of the people who propagate it. It is not about silly, perhaps amusing theories about ESP or life on the moon or even purported miracle cures for cancer. The “science” examined here actively harms people, leading with grim regularity to suicide, depression and an array of self-destructive behaviors. It demeans, defames and defrauds human beings, typically at their most vulnerable moments. And, as if that weren’t enough, it regularly lays the blame for the alleged malady of homosexuality at the feet of gay people’s parents, despite the fact that they are wholly innocent."

Some of their comments:

  • 2014-JUN: The Republican Party of Texas adopted a resolution that recognized the: "... legitimacy and efficacy [of reparative therapy for those] seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle." The resolution recommends that no laws should exist to bar the practice. 10

  • 2014: The Columbia University Law School reviewed all 13 peer-reviewed studies that did primary research on conversion therapy over the previous 3 decades. Twelve of them:

    "concluded that [conversion therapy] is ineffective and/ or harmful, finding links to depression, suicidality, anxiety, social isolation and decreased capacity for intimacy. ... [they] can be extremely harmful." 10

  • 2014-JUL: Former ex-gay leaders release letter:

Nine former leader in the ex-gay movement issued a joint letter critical of reparative therapy because of the:

"... terrible emotional and spiritual damage it can cause, especially for LGBT youth."

The signatories include Brad Allen, Michael Bussee, Jeremy Marks, Yvette Cantu Schneider and John Smid, all one-time officials with Exodus International or its projects; Darlene Bogle of Paraklete Ministries; Catherine Chapman of the Portland Fellowship; Bill Prickett of Coming Back; and Tim Rymel of Love Won Out. 10

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2017-MAY: Nevada: The most recent U.S. anti-conversion therapy law:

During 2015, State Senator David Parks (D-NV) introduced bill SB 353 to prohibit licensed therapists in the state from using conversion therapy on minors. The bill did not proceed.

He reintroduced the bill in the current session as SB 201. It defines "conversion therapy" broadly as:

"... any practice or treatment that seeks to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person, including, without limitation, a practice or treatment that seeks to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward persons of the same gender." 5

The original text of the bill was amended to allow religious groups and clergy to engage in conversion therapy or similar discussions with children.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed the bill into law. It will go become effective on 2018-JAN-01.

Senator Parks thanked the Governor, saying:

"Nevada has a long record of passing progressive legislation to protect the LGBTQ community with bipartisan support, and I want to thank Governor Sandoval for signing this critical legislation to protect LGBTQ youth. Banning conversion therapy makes Nevada a safer place for children who are at a higher risk of anxiety, depression, substance abuse and even suicide." 6

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2017-JUL: United Kingdom: The General Synod of the Church of England promotes a ban on conversion therapy:

The Church's National Assembly is holding its annual meeting in York. They voted to endorse a Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy initiated by by The Royal College of Psychiatrists and others, which condemn the practice. That statement describes Conversion Therapy as unethical, potentially harmful and as having "no place in the modern world."

Jayne Ozanne from the Diocese of Oxford initiated the motion. During the debate, she said:

"In short, conversation therapy is harmful, dangerous and just doesn't work. ... "People may be able to alter their behaviour but they can never alter their innate desire. ... This debate is actually quite simple.  Do we trust our medical health professions and academics (including many sincere godly Christians) to know what they are talking about? Should we listen to the voices of those we and others have unwittingly harmed? Should we learn from our mistakes, and seek to protect future generations from the sort of damage that was done to me and so many others?"

Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, said: "The sooner the practice of so-called conversion therapy is banned, I can sleep at night."

Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, said: "As the world listens to us the world needs to hear us say that LGBTI+ orientation and identity is not a crime. LGBTI+ orientation and identity is not a sickness. And LGBTI+ orientation and identity is not a sin. We must distinguish between an ascetic and a therapeutic approach. In the Church we are certainly called to help one another to conform their lives to Jesus Christ and to live lives of holiness, but we do not need to engage people in healing therapy if they are not sick."

The votes in the House of Bishops were 36 for, 1 against, 0 abstentions; in the House of Clergy: 135 for, 25 against, 13 abstentions; in the House of Laity: 127 for, 48 against, 13 abstentions. 7

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2018-MAR-31: Change.org is promoting a petition to ban reparative therapy in British Columbia, Canada:

Change.org reported that the Provinces of:

  • Manitoba and Ontario have issued regulations that prohibit doctors from billing the provinces' Health Insurance Plans for the cost of conversion therapy.

  • Kyra Saliken has sponsored a petition on Change.org to encourage British Columbia and the other Canadian provinces to follow suit. 8

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2018-MAY: California Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) is sponsoring Bill AB 2943:

It was passed by the California Legislature, and would end the practice of paid conversion therapy in the state for clients of all ages. It is now headed to the State Senate. It would declare SOCE efforts to be a deceptive business practice. This would expose SOCE therapists who charge for their conversion therapy to lawsuits from their patients. Douglas Haldeman, a psychologist in Walnut Creek and the former president of the California Psychological Association said:

"The consensus has been very clear for decades that conversion therapy is ineffective ... and can harm people. It’s snake oil." 9

Supporters of SOCE therapy were not impressed.

  • Rev. Mike Rogers, a pastor at a Baptist church near Sacramento said:

    "My Bible and my gospel is not a fraud. This bill is."

  • Other supporters have claimed that this bill could result in the Bible being banned! That appears most unlikely in view of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees freedom of religious belief, speech, and assembly. 9

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Related essays on this web site which you might find of interest:

bullet About homosexuality

bullet About transgender individuals and transsexuals

bullet What do professional groups, researchers and studies say about homosexuality?"

bullet Healing homosexuality through reparative therapy.

bullet Studies of the effectiveness and safety of reparative therapy.

bullet A small-scale study in 2015 appears to show that epigenetics working before birth is a (or perhaps the only) cause of homosexuality.

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References:

  1. Image downloaded from Pixabay; (CC0 Public Domain).
  2. Sandra G. Boodman, "Vowing to Set the World Straight: Proponents of Reparative Therapy Say They Can Help Gay Patients Become Heterosexual. Experts Call That a Prescription for Harm," Washington Post, 2005-AUG-16, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  3. "List of U.S. jurisdictions banning conversion therapy for minors, Wikipedia, as on 2017-MAY-20, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  4. "Rep. Lieu introduces the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017," House Media Center, 2017-APR-25, at: https://lieu.house.gov/
  5. Andrew Davey, "The State of Equality: A Conversation on LGBTQ Civil Rights in #NVLeg with Senator David Parks," Nevada Forward, 2017-APR-10, at: http://nevadaforward.com/
  6. Justin Haskins, "Nevada bans therapists from trying to talk kids out of being gay," The Blaze, 2017-APR-21, at: http://www.theblaze.com/
  7. "General Synod backs ban on conversion therapy," The Church of England, 2017-JUL-08, at: https://www.churchofengland.org/
  8. "Ban Conversion Therapy in B.C.," Change.com, at: https://mail.google.com/
  9. Casey Tolan, "As a gay teen, Evan Low thought about changing his sexuality. Now he’s fighting conversion therapy in California," Mercury News, 2018-MAY-27, at: https://www.mercurynews.com/
  10. Mark Potok, "Special report: Quacks: Conversion Therapists and Homosexuality, Southern Poverty Law Center, 2016-MAY-25, at: https://www.splcenter.org/

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Copyright © 2005 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2018-JUL-07
Author: B.A. Robinson

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