A federal report showing the damage associated with conversation, or ex-gay, therapy on minors was released today and a rep for President Obama said the administration fully supports banning such treatments in the wake of the report’s release.
“It’s not our job to tell parents how to raise their children, but it is our responsibility to provide parents with the science evidence necessary in order to make the best decisions when raising their children,” said White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett in a phone call today. She acted as the voice for the Obama Administration around the release of today’s report.
Compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a part of the Federal Health and Human Services department, today’s report entitled “Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth” aims to provide practical tools to help families and allies support LGBTQ youth, as well as dispel the belief that ex-gay therapy works.
“Variance in sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression are normal,” said Elliot Kennedy, Special Expert for LGBT Affairs, with SAMHSA. “Conversion therapies or other efforts to change sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression are not effective, reinforce harmful gender stereotypes and are not appropriate mental health treatments.”
Kennedy said the report was formed with help from experts at the American Psychological Association who convened in July of this year to work specifically on the topic of conversion therapy.
“… Suicide, depression, substance abuse, and homelessness, among many others often relate to family rejection due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression,” said Kennedy.
“It’s our hope these findings… can help make inroads into eliminating the health disparities faced by LGBTQ youth, and contribute to their well being.”
Highlights from the report include how children’s gender expression can vary from their gender identity in prepubescent years, the issues gender minority children face in relation to their parents, the impact of bullying in and outside of school, and a myriad of other topics hoping to inform parents and medical professionals about LGBTQ youth.