Task Force: California's new law banning sham therapies aimed at LGBT youth serves as a model for the rest of the country
WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds California Gov. Jerry Brown for signing legislation that makes California the first state to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) minors from reparative therapies administered by mental health professionals. The law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
Groups such as the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal, Mental Health America of Northern California, as well as many others including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, urged for passage and enactment of the measure, Senate Bill 1172.
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Governor Jerry Brown nailed it when he said so-called conversion therapies have no basis in science or medicine, and then, with a swipe of his pen, relegated this detrimental practice to the dustbin of quackery. In doing so, the governor created history by making California the first state to halt this psychological abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people by deceitful mental health professionals. This couldn t happen soon enough. Nobody especially vulnerable children and teens should be subjected to these sham therapies, which have been roundly denounced and dismissed by leading mental health organizations. Unfortunately though, there are those who continue to place the well-being of LGBT youth in jeopardy, which is why this law is necessary. We thank Gov. Jerry Brown and all those who worked so hard on this legislation. It serves as a model for the rest of the country.
More on the Task Force s work on this issue
The Task Force's long history on this issue began in 1973, when the Task Force worked to change the American Psychiatric Association's classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder, and worked with psychiatrist allies to defeat a proposed association-wide referendum to stop the declassification. In addition:
In 1998, the Task Force Policy Institute co-published Challenging the Ex-Gay Movement (http://www.thetaskforce.org/activist_center/resources_and_tools/challenge_exgay), with Equal Partners in Faith and Political Research Associates. That same year, the Policy Institute also released Calculated Compassion: How the Ex-Gay Movement Serves the Right's Attack on Democracy (http://www.thetaskforce.org/reports_and_research/calculated_compassion). These publications attested to the fact that reparative therapies are both harmful and do not work.
In 2005, the Task Force released A report from Love Won Out: Addressing, Understanding, and Preventing Homosexuality. (http://www.thetaskforce.org/reports_and_research/love_won_out_report) It detailed the frames and worldview put forth by ex-gay leaders, and examined how to counter their anti-LGBT arguments.
The Task Force Policy Institute released a 2006 report, Youth in the Crosshairs: The Third Wave of Ex-Gay Activism (http://www.thetaskforce.org/reports_and_research/youth_in_the_crosshairs), which revealed how groups such as Exodus International and Focus on the Family promoted widely discredited theories on the root of homosexuality and recommended prevention and reparative therapies despite the body of research discrediting these practices.
To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, visit www.theTaskForce.org (http://www.thetaskforce.org/) and follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce (http://www.twitter.com/thetaskforce).
The following statement can be attributed to Christine P. Sun, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center and director of its LGBT rights project:
“This is a great day for youth in California who have been subjected to incredibly harmful therapy based on junk science. Conversion therapy has brought nothing but pain and devastation for many who have endured it. Sadly, the conversion therapy movement has pushed its message for decades — despite the dangers of this practice — and has increasingly targeted LGBT youth across the country. Passing this law is an important step for California and the nation to raise awareness about the lies behind conversion therapy and put an end to this junk science.”
The SPLC has monitored hate and extremist groups, including anti-LGBT organizations, for years. Prejudice against the LGBT community often occurs as a result of the belief that sexual orientation is a choice and can be changed. Conversion therapy reflects this misguided belief and is a dangerous practice that has been discredited or highly criticized by virtually all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations. Many who have undergone conversion therapy have reported increased anxiety, depression, and in some cases, suicidal thoughts. The devastating consequences of conversion therapy are why the Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to ending this practice and defending the rights of individuals harmed by itblog comments powered by Disqus