The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a report calling for an end to conversion therapy for LGBT youth, Reuters noted.
The practice aims to change a person's sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, but the Obama Administration called for an end to the therapy a year ago.
"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," said SAMHSA Special Expert on LGBT Affairs Elliot Kennedy.
In a statement, National Center for Lesbian Rights #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator and Staff Attorney Samantha Ames said, "We could not be more grateful to SAMHSA, HHS, and the entire Obama Administration for producing such an in-depth and lifesaving report, and to the APA for inviting us to the table with such high caliber experts to observe the process."
The report is at store.samhsa.gov/product/SMA15-4928 .
Visit www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/15/us-health-lgbt-conversion-idUSKCN0S912520151015 .
From a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration press release:
Thursday, October 15, 2015The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration ( SAMHSA ) is releasing "Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth," a comprehensive report that provides an in-depth review of research and clinical expertise related to conversion therapy. This important new resource makes it clear that conversion therapy is not an appropriate therapeutic approach based on the evidence, and explores alternative ways to discuss sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression with young people.
This report includes the first publication of consensus statements developed by an expert panel held by the American Psychological Association in July 2015. The expert panel included researchers and practitioners in child and adolescent mental health with a strong background in gender development, gender identity, and sexual orientation in children and adolescents. Experts with a background in family therapy, ethics, and the psychology of religion also participated.
Through a collaborative process, this panel found that variations in sexual orientation and gender identity are normal, and that conversion therapies or other efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity are not effective, are harmful, and are not appropriate therapeutic practices. The report provides an overview of existing efforts to eliminate the practice of conversion therapy.
"When dealing with a sensitive topic such as gender identity or sexual orientation in young people, it is essential that families, educators, caregivers, and providers seek the best available information and advice," said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Kana Enomoto. "SAMHSA's report provides this information, as well as resources young people, families and others can use to promote healthy development for all youth."
The information and resources contained within the report include a review of the research in this area, detailed information on supportive therapeutic approaches, areas of opportunity for future research, existing strategies to end the practice of conversion therapy, and targeted guidance for various audiences.
These materials help providers, families, and care-givers support their LGBTQ and gender non-conforming children and adolescents. They also illuminate practices that may contribute to the health disparities facing LGBTQ youth, which should be avoided.
Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth is available at:http://store.samhsa.gov/product/SMA15-4928
For further information about SAMHSA please visit: www.samhsa.gov .
From an American Psychological Association press release:
WASHINGTON - The American Psychological Association expressed support for a report released today by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration calling for an end to the practice of "conversion therapy" for children and youth.
"This important report makes it clear that conversion therapy is not appropriate for dealing with sexual orientation or gender identities in children and youth," said Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, APA's associate executive director for public interest government relations. "It provides guidance to clinicians on current science and best practices for this vulnerable population."
Children benefit from developmentally appropriate identity exploration and integration, said Glassgold, who led APA's Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation before joining the association's staff. That task force issued a report in 2009 that found insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation.
"Interventions aimed at a fixed outcome, such as gender conformity or heterosexual orientation, including those aimed at changing gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation, should not be part of behavioral health treatments," Glassgold said. "This vital document builds on APA's longstanding work on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender concerns, especially its report on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation and its guidelines for working with LGB and transgender and gender variant clients."
The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes more than 122,500 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.
(San Francisco, CA, October 15, 2015)—Today the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), released "Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting And Affirming LGBTQ Youth," a groundbreaking new report that provides accurate information about how conversion therapy harms lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. The report was released this morning and will be discussed in depth by several of the authors this afternoon at a panel moderated by National Lesbian Rights (NCLR) #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator and Staff Attorney Samantha Ames at the Utah LGBT Summit, part of the National LGBT Rural Summit Series, hosted by the White House and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Ogden.
The report confirms that conversion therapy is an inappropriate practice that should not be utilized by mental health practitioners, puts to rest once and for all any remaining claims that sexual orientation or gender identity can or should be changed, and finds that any attempt to do so "perpetuates outdated views of gender roles and identities as well as the negative stereotype that being a sexual and gender minority or identifying as LGBTQ is an abnormal aspect of human development."
Among the report's key findings:
- Conversion therapy is a practice that is not supported by credible evidence and has been disavowed by behavioral health experts and associations.
- Same-gender sexual orientation—including identity, behavior, and attraction—and variations in gender identity and gender expression are a part of the normal spectrum of human diversity and do not constitute a mental disorder.
- None of the existing research supports the premise that mental or behavioral health interventions can alter gender identity or sexual orientation.
- Interventions aimed at a fixed outcome, such as gender conformity or heterosexual orientation, including those aimed at changing gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, are coercive, can be harmful, and should not be a part of behavioral health treatment.
- Informed consent cannot be provided for an intervention that does not have a benefit to the client.
- Conversion therapy may put young people at risk of serious harm.
- Given that conversion therapy is not an appropriate therapeutic intervention, efforts should be taken to end the practice.
"We could not be more grateful to SAMHSA, HHS, and the entire Obama Administration for producing such an in-depth and lifesaving report, and to the APA for inviting us to the table with such high caliber experts to observe the process. From representing LGBTQ youth institutionalized for their identity to advocating for laws protecting them from physical and psychological abuse, NCLR has been leading the fight to end these dangerous and discredited practices for decades. For the first time in history, advocates are seeing our national leaders prioritize what is too often an issue of life and death for LGBTQ youth. But, more importantly, young people are seeing their heroes stand up for them. We thank President Obama for his strong leadership on this issue and look forward to using the groundbreaking findings of this report to bring about a day when every child knows they were #BornPerfect." said Ames.
In addition to including recommendations for eliminating the use of conversion therapy through battling discrimination, legislation, and training, the SAMHSA report also includes guidance for families, communities, providers, and educators. Read the full report here.store.samhsa.gov/product/SMA15-4928 .
NCLR has been at the forefront of the fight to end conversion therapy and works closely with legislators and state leaders across the country to introduce bills protecting youth from these dangerous practices, which are associated with extreme depression, substance abuse, and even suicide.
Five jurisdictions—California, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Oregon, and Illinois—now protect LGBTQ youth from the practices, with leaders from several other states planning introduction of similar legislation in the 2016 legislative session.
Last year, NCLR launched its #BornPerfect campaign to stop conversion therapy across the country by passing laws, fighting in courtrooms, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
For more information about the dangers of conversion therapy and NCLR's #BornPerfect campaign visitwww.NCLRights.org/BornPerfect .
From the Human Rights Campaign:
WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which makes "clear that conversion therapy is not an appropriate therapeutic approach based on the evidence, and explores alternative ways to discuss sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression with young people."
"Conversion therapy is child abuse, and the Obama Administration has joined our call to ban its practice once and for all," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "This is dangerous junk science that uses fear and shame to tell young people the only way to find love and acceptance is by changing the very nature of who they are. Today's new health report shows the extensive damage that so-called conversion therapy can cause and why it's so urgent that we end it in all fifty states."
Conversion therapy — a discredited practice that falsely claims to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity — has been denounced by every mainstream medical and mental health association, including the American Medical Association and American Psychological Association. This new report is based on consensus findings by leading mental health experts that make clear that conversion therapy is not an appropriate or responsible practice.
HRC and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) have partnered with state equality groups across the nation to pass state legislation to end this dangerous practice, including the laws passed in California, New Jersey, Oregon, the District of Columbia, and most recently in Illinois.
In April, the White House called for an end to the dangerous practice of conversion therapy. In May, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-CA) introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act — the first federal legislation to prohibit the practice of providing conversion therapy to any person in exchange for monetary compensation or advertising such services.
For more information about the dangers of conversion therapy and NCLR's #BornPerfect campaign visitwww.NCLRights.org/BornPerfect or HRC's resource page .