Major Points: Every reputable mental health or medical association in the US denounces conversion or reparative “therapy” as harmful to its victims.
The United Nations defines reparative “therapy” of transgener people as torture.
The UN calls for national laws prohibiting conversion and reparative “therapy” and calls for prosecution of those who violate those laws.
Americans, particularly “Christian counselors” continue to engage in this practice, even though it is based on pseudoscience and its practice denounced by every reputable medical organization.
“Leelah’s Law” is being proposed to stop reparative “therapy” in the US on a national level, both in the interest of stopping the torture of children and in helping prevent more needless suicides.
I’d like to thank Lexie Cannes for bringing the UN report to my attention.
NOTE: This post was written for Leelah’s Law: Support the Ban on Conversion Therapy and is reprinted here. This post may be reproduced only if it is reproduced in its entirety, including copyright notices.
© Jody Ann Malsbury & The Transgender Human Rights Institute.
There is nothing therapeutic about so-called reparative “therapy.” The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA), in its 2012 “Position Statement on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression” stated:
Psychoanalytic technique does not encompass purposeful attempts to “convert,” “repair,” change or shift an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Such directed efforts are against fundamental principles of psychoanalytic treatment and often result in substantial psychological pain by reinforcing damage in internalized attitudes [emphasis added].
In fact, all other reputable medical and mental health professional associations in the US have denounced this practice: The American Psychiatric Association (APA), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), just to name a few.
We Americans pride ourselves in being technologically innovative, socially advanced and somehow superior to the rest of the world. Despite the recent revelations about GW and the Torture Report revealing war crimes committed during his reign of terror, we Americans don’t generally view ourselves as barbaric people who torture children. Well, not so, according to the United Nations.
…“members of sexual minorities are disproportionately subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment because they fail to conform to socially constructed gender expectations. Indeed, discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity may often contribute to the process of the dehumanization of the victim, which is often a necessary condition for torture and ill-treatment to take place.” [emphasis added] (page 19)
Discriminating against, denying or trying to change someone’s gender identity or gender expression is clearly dehumanizing, as it seeks to malign or erase a core part of someone’s concept of who they are. Among recommendations in the report were for all nations:
… to repeal any law allowing intrusive and irreversible treatments, including forced genital-normalizing surgery, involuntary sterilization, unethical experimentation, medical display, reparative therapies” or “conversion therapies”, when enforced or administered without the free and informed consent of the person concerned. [emphasis added] (page 23)
“Without the free and informed consent of the person concerned.” Why would someone consent to what the UN itself has defined as torture? In any case, a minor child is legally unable to provide informed consent, therefore, any parent who subjects their child to so-called reparative or conversion “therapy”—clearly defined as torture by the UN—is violating at least 3 of the UN’s recommendations:
- Torture (child abuse, really) in the form of reparative “therapy”
- Lack of informed consent
- Lack of consent by the person concerned.
Finally, the UN report also calls for all nations to:
Promote accountability for torture and ill-treatment in health-care settings by identifying laws, policies and practices that lead to abuse; and enable national preventive mechanisms to systematically monitor, receive complaints and initiate prosecutions…. [emphasis added] (page 21)
I guess we’ll have to wait and see when Leelah’s Law is enacted to see what the likelihood of anyone actually being prosecuted will be.
Jody Ann Malsbury, MSW
LCSW, Retired; license no longer active
Clinical Social Worker & Psychotherapist
The Transgender Human Rights Institute is the first 501(c)3 transgender international human rights organization specifically organized for transgender rights worldwide.
© Jody Ann Malsbury & The Transgender Human Rights Institute. This post may be reproduced only if it is reproduced in its entirety, including copyright notices.
- Transgender Teen’s Death a Call to Action (hrc.org)
- Want to stop LGBT teens from committing suicide? Ban conversion therapy (dailydot.com)