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United Nations Reports: Reparative “Therapy” is Torture

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.

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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.

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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.

In a “Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” made to the Human Rights Council of the UN, it was noted that:

…“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:

  1. Torture (child abuse, really) in the form of reparative “therapy”
  2. Lack of informed consent
  3. 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

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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.

 

 

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An Open Letter to Doug and Carla Alcorn

Dear Mr and Mrs Alcorn,

First of all let me extend my condolences on the death of your daughter Leelah on December 28 2014. I do so as a parent who could not even begin to comprehend the pain of losing one of her children

I am, as your daughter was a transgender woman, and I would ask that you believe me when I tell you that it can be and most certainly is at times a living hell. A hell made not by any vengeful deity, but rather a hell made by other human beings, who, like yourselves prefer to torture others by your words and actions.

You may cling to the notion that Leelah was actually a confused boy you named Joshua at birth, but in reality she was your daughter.

Your daughter Leelah 

Difficult as that concept may be for you to grasp, she deserved better from you as her parents.  She deserved your unconditional love and support, not love and support conditional on your view of the ordered world; Not conditional on your religious beliefs; Conditional only on the fact that she was your child, a child who craved only your love and acceptance.

Both of you let her down badly.

Many people are calling for you to be prosecuted on the basis that it was your actions which led to your beautiful daughter being made to feel so worthless, so absolutely desolate, that she decided to end her own life. Can you imagine the fear and sadness she experienced in those last moments of her young life?

A life so needlessly ended.

However personally I do not believe you should be prosecuted, and let me tell you why. It is not from any position of sympathy for you, because beyond the common decency of feeling for your loss, I have none. Rather I think about Leelah. My heart breaks for her, and I feel her loss intensely, as do many others throughout the world who did not have the privilege of knowing her in person. Beyond that any prosecution would turn into a media circus which would distract attention from the greater tragedy of Leelah’s death.

Having said that don’t get the impression that you have a get out of jail free card , because believe me you do not. Both of you are responsible for your daughter’s death as if you had physically pushed her under that truck because you may as well have by your despicable treatment of her.

Leelah was your child. She should have been able to count on your unconditional love and support, but she couldn’t. Instead you demeaned her at every chance. You abused her in the worst way possible. You destroyed her fragile spirit, and for what? So you could stand up and tell everyone how much you believed in your god. How good you were. How much you loved your child.

Had you really loved her, you would not have contributed to her death. She is beyond you now. You cannot hurt her any more and that is the only consolation in all of this.

Neither of you realise the gift that you were given in Leelah and you let that gift slip through your fingers. That is the tragedy that you now have to live with for the rest of your lives.

Janice

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Enact “Leelah’s Law” to Ban Transgender Conversion Therapy for Children and Teens

Leelah's Law Whitehouse Petition

Petitions on whitehouse.gov must obtain 100,000 signatures within 30 days in order for the White House to be required to respond. Clicking on the picture will open a new tab and enable you to add your name to the petition.

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Emma on “60 Minutes”: Grading the Parents & the Media

girl & butterflies

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This is a story about Emma, a trans girl, mostly told by her mother.  I first saw this on Suzan’s blog at http://womenborntranssexual.com/2013/06/22/emma-60-minutes/.  After the video I have posted “grades” for the parents and the media regarding their behavior and apparent attitudes.  (Preview:   The media passes, but barely.)

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GRADES:

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Parents:  A

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Media: D

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Discussion:

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Parents

The parents get an A+ for being totally supportive of Emma and honest and open about their experiences with Emma’s transgender status, particularly in such a public forum.  The only fault I found with the mother is her reference to Emma not being “normal,” although this may be a language difference (there is a substantial difference between American English and Australian English)—she may have meant “not conforming to the ‘norm’ or the average, in which case she would be using “normal” as a statistical term.

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Media

Oh, where to start?  The media gets a passing grade for covering the story at all, not over-sensationalizing and not acting like total morons.  However they need to:

  • STOP misgendering Emma by referring to her as a “boy.”  Emma has never been a boy.  She has ALWAYS been a girl.
  • STOP misgendering Emma by referring to her as the parents’ “son.”
  • STOP misgendering Emma by referring to her by her birth name.  Her name is “Emma.”  Have some respect and call her by her name.  Do YOU like people calling YOU by an incorrect name?
  • STOP, STOP, STOP misgendering Emma by using incorrect pronouns, and   
  • *F*F*S*  it is not “in her her head.”  Emma’s gender as a girl is real and it’s not going away.  Is YOURS?

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As I mentioned, I should have given the media an “F” for these behaviors.  I begrudgingly gave them a passing grade for covering the story, not being totally insensitive and not being complete assholes—only partial ones.

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