LGBT Conversion Therapy Ban Activists Want Federal Action Taken

LGBT conversion therapy ban protests spark heated debate nationwide. In 2014, the Obama administration called for an end to the counseling offered to gay and lesbian young people. A taxpayer-funded study prompted a new government report also calling for such a therapy ban.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report stated that efforts should be undertaken to end LGBT conversion therapy in the United States, MSN reports. The agency has urged the federal government to take “regulatory action” to restrict such therapy from being offered to minors.

“No evidence supports the efficacy of such interventions to change sexual orientation or gender identity, and such interventions are potentially harmful,” the SAMHSA report said.

LGBT conversion therapy is already banned in Washington, D.C. and four states. Congress and a total of 21 states are now reportedly considering banning the therapy for gay youth.

The SAMHSA conversion therapy report also stated that the long-held idea that homosexuality is a treatable illness is at the heart of the programs geared towards gay youth. Mental health experts cited in the report maintain that “same-gender sexual orientation 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.”

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Parents who do not agree with the views of mental health experts who contend that individuals are born gay or that homosexuality is part of the normal spectrum of diversity sometimes enroll their children in LGBT conversion therapy with the hope they can become heterosexual.

The SAMHSA report claims that not only is conversion therapy a useless endeavor, but it also creates psychological stress which can place gay youth at risk of serious harm, according to the Huffington Post.

The following is an excerpt from the SAMHSA gay conversion therapy report.

“Family rejecting behaviors — including attempts to change an adolescent’s sexual orientation — have been linked with health risks, including suicidal behavior and risk for HIV, during young adulthood. Parental behaviors and attitudes have a significant effect on the mental health and well-being of sexual and gender minority children and adolescents.”

The report goes on to claim that many transgender, bisexual, gay, lesbian, and “questioning” American youth need acceptance from society and especially their parents — and not conversion therapy.

The SAMHSA report includes statements from individuals who underwent LGBT conversion therapy and survived the experience. A man identified only as “Sam” said he had to engage in psychological treatment in order for him to recover from the trauma he endured after being sent to conversion therapy.

“It is nearly impossible to describe walking into a therapist’s office after surviving conversion therapy,” he said. “The problem is that we need help from a system we have only known to hurt us. Hearing that I would be OK and that my new therapist could help me learn to cope with the pain of my conversion therapy experience was like getting a second chance at life.”

The authors of the report also stated that banning conversion therapy is just the first step in the movement to aid LGBTQ youth in leading happy and productive lives. The SAMHSA conversion therapy study maintains that a “societal bias” and discrimination against “gender minorities” must be addressed and come to an end.

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