Lambda Legal Applauds Federal Resolution Opposing 'Ex-Gay Therapy' for Youth
U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier today introduced the Stop Harming Our Kids Resolution (SHOK), a federal resolution supporting efforts to stop mental health providers from using dangerous efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity - sometimes referred to as "ex-gay therapy," "conversion therapy" or "reparative therapy" - with minors.
We applaud the introduction of this important resolution, which adds the voice of the U.S. Congress to the growing chorus opposing attempts to change a young person's sexual orientation or gender identity. So-called "reparative therapies" fail any credible scientific or therapeutic test, and serve only to traumatize those most vulnerable - our youth.
From community centers to therapists' organizations to crisis hotlines, many have witnessed first-hand the casualties of baseless promises in the guise of "therapy" to change sexual orientation and gender identity. Lambda Legal has argued in the courts about the trauma of this so-called ex-gay therapy and the trail of fractured lives and ruptured families left in its wake.
Lambda Legal has worked on this issue throughout the country, most recently in California and New Jersey. As a result of the lack of any scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of so-called "reparative therapies" and the potential of these efforts to causing harm, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy have all issued cautionary statements opposing sexual orientation change efforts.
Efforts to change a young person's sexual orientation or gender identity pose critical health risks, including depression, shame, and self-harm. For minors, who are often subjected to these practices at the insistence of parents who don't know or don't believe that the efforts are harmful, the risks of long-term mental and physical health consequences are particularly severe. In addition, when these efforts "fail," many LGBTQ children are kicked out of their homes.
We thank Representative Jackie Speier and other sponsors for their leadership on this important resolution and we urge Congress to pass it.