Tuesday, April 24, 2012

California bill would protect minors from “ex-gay” therapy, require informed consent & disclaimer

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Switch: “GAY | NOT GAY”

Some good news out of California today, as Senate lawmakers are considering a bill that would require informed consent from anyone seeking “gay deconversion”/“ex-gay” therapy (aka informing them that it’s a bullshit treatment for something that can’t be cured because it isn’t a disease) and would also prevent it from being inflicted on anyone under the age of 18:

A California Senate committee today advanced SB 1172, a bill that would help protect citizens from harmful, ineffective ex-gay therapy. The law does not outright ban all ex-gay therapy, but it does prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from undergoing sexual orientation change efforts. It also requires that any prospective patient sign an informed consent form that includes the following disclaimer:

Having a lesbian, gay, or bisexual sexual orientation is not a mental disorder. There is no scientific evidence that any types of therapies are effective in changing a person’s sexual orientation. Sexual orientation change efforts can be harmful. The risks include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.

Medical and mental health associations that oppose the use of sexual orientation change efforts include the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

This is model legislation that applies scientific knowledge to the benefit of the general welfare. Ex-gay therapy has been debunked repeatedly and deserves the marginalization that this bill would implement.

Only two weeks ago, one of the most notorious and oft-cited “ex-gay” studies was officially renounced by its own researcher, who finally admitted the whole thing only served to show how religious beliefs and peer pressure could coerce the confused and vulnerable into trying vainly to suppress their sexual orientation, usually with significant consequences to their mental and emotional health. And that’s just the most famous and recent of such retractions; every other such study has also been thoroughly debunked.

Of course, the cranks aren’t happy, and at least one “ex-gay” group has (presumably unintentionally) revealed their true reasons for supporting such anti-gay quackery. From a news alert email released yesterday by NARTH (National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality):

While this is a direct assault on everyone’s freedom it is also a not so subtle attack on religious liberty. Individuals of faith often seeking to live lives congruent with their religious convictions are often motivated to seek help for their homosexual attractions. This type of legislation would in effect criminalize those formerly ethical relationships between a client and their therapist unless those interactions were supervised by agents of the state.

Hey, waitaminute – what does “religious liberty” have to do with it? Or – perish the thought! – is “ex-gay” therapy less about “helping” people overcome their “homosexual tendencies” and more about pushing their ridiculous, harmful and endlessly discredited religious dogma down the throats of needy and conflicted individuals in order to bully and shame them into “acting straight”?

(via Joe. My. God.)