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California Assembly passes landmark bill to protect LGBT youth from reparative therapy

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Assembly on Tuesday voted 52 to 21 in favor of a bill that will protect LGBT youth from treatments by mental health practitioners who falsely claim to be able change their sexual orientation or gender expression.

Authored by Senator Ted Lieu, Senate Bill 1172 is co-sponsored by Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gaylesta, Mental Health America of Northern California, Lambda Legal, and the Courage Campaign.

The bill will return to the Senate for a vote to concur in amendments made in the Assembly before proceeding to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.

This bill prohibits state-licensed mental health practitioners from engaging in abusive treatments that fraudulently claim to stop a young person from being LGBT, often referred to as reparative therapy.

Among the techniques used by SOCE (Sexual orientation change efforts) practitioners include the use of shame, verbal abuse, pornography, and aversion training.

Most mental health professionals claim SOCE treatments are not only ineffective but extremely dangerous, and can lead to anxiety, depression, feelings of worthlessness, and even suicide. They have been routinely rejected as ineffective and potentially harmful by medical, mental health, and child welfare organizations.

In 2009, the American Psychological Association reviewed published reports about treatments that claim to change a person’s sexual orientation and issued a report concluding that there is no evidence that these practices work and that they are based on a false belief that being gay is an illness or disorder.

Also in 2009, the American Psychological Association issued a statement advising “parents, guardians, young people, and their families to avoid sexual orientation change efforts that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and to seek psychotherapy, social support, and educational services that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support, and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth.”

“These dangerous, unscientific practices have caused too many young people to take their own lives or suffer lifelong harm after being told, falsely, that who they are and who they love is wrong, sick, or the result of personal or moral failure,” said Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California board president.

“We applaud the legislature, and in particular, Senator Ted Lieu, for putting a stop to the psychological abuse these misguided practitioners have inflicted on vulnerable youth and families,” she said.

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20 more reader comments:

  1. That makes me so happy! :’)

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 9:04am
  2. as a GWM, and a liberal, I still have difficulties with the Government passing laws telling a parent how to raise their child. Yes, christian bigotry towards gays is despicable, and any attempt to “cure” someone of homosexuality is misleading and ill fated, but there needs to be better ways to correct the problem then the law. I understand and appreciate the motive, but am not sure that this is the best solution

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 9:12am
  3. Its a form of child abuse if you ask me….If a parent cant except their child for who they are then they dont deserve these, wonderful perfect the way they are,children….

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 9:32am
  4. Its the same as when the government has to step in to stop children from being married off to men 5 times their age,because thats what their religious beliefs.Its abuse even if you justify it with your religion.And sometimes the only way to protect the children is to make it law because a lot of people dont have common sense, just blind faith..

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 9:37am
  5. Matthew, there are times the government needs to step in with laws to protect children…if we didn’t have such laws in place, then it would still be okay for parents to beat the hell out of their kids. I have met very warped people (who shouldn’t be allowed to procreate in the first place) who feel that it’s okay to go beyond a simple swat on the butt and downright beat a child into near oblivion. These same “parents” feel it’s okay to verbally and emotionally abuse their offspring. These are also the same types of morons who think that their child is defective in some way if that child doesn’t fall into their ideal of perfection, and they will use any means possible to make that child fall in matter what sort of scars they cause.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 9:46am
  6. Matthew, Carolyn is right. I agree with you that the government shouldn’t tell parents how to raise their children. However, when a parent abuses a child that’s where the government steps in. Sending a child to “reparative therapy” is abuse & that child suffers long after.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 9:55am
  7. That’s right. If a parent wants to have their child psychologically tortured why that’s their right. How should I put this… Argument Fail.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 11:11am
  8. I agree with everything that has been said here. I m not trying to be wishy-washy on this, but I think the law sets a dangerous precedent, and I am not certain how well it will stand up in court when the time comes. How far is too far? As an example, the documentary film, JESUS CAMP sickens me, that kids are sent to camp to be indoctrinated in bigotry, close-mindedness and hatred. Does that mean we pass a law prohibiting Christian camps? ( and yes I am creating an extreme example.) Taken to its absurdest conclusion, can’t a law like this give the blessing to children being taken from parents because the government deems them to unworthy to raise them for being gay, or Democrats, or whatever. BELIEVE ME I am as opposed to anti-gay therapy as any gay person…. just not certain that this is the answer.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 12:01pm
  9. The bill prevents State Licensed Mental Health Practitioners from using unproven, medically dissonant, immoral methods to treat children for a natural human condition. This is a necessary law, and is the right thing to do. Although, ignorant parents who hate their children can still go to the “Church” and unlicensed “mental health impostors” to bend their childrens’ minds’ to their wills’.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 12:20pm
  10. @Marge, only one expression from me: fuck off.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 1:42pm
  11. Slippery slope fallacies, nothing else.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 1:43pm
  12. welcome to 21st century Ms. thachter where we learn and progress and dare, i say it evolve.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 2:02pm
  13. @ Marge, if you wish to spout such idiocy, you really could have condensed it. I suppose wherever you got your crackpot education forgot to mention the concept of conciseness: get to the point and forget the fluff. You just came off as a long-winded, insane, and from my perspective, morally bankrupt…

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 5:04pm
  14. Oh, and I kissed my boyfriend…and I liked it!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 5:04pm
  15. YEAH!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 7:47pm
  16. Marge, you are irritating with your thought process. I hope you are not around children much, they don’t need your sick persuasion.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 7:56pm
  17. Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 4:16am
  18. wow how terrifying I bet even God is scared of you marge. I dont think that the God I grew up believing in would ever treat any of his children with such cruelty as you are treating them with. Have you ever heard of the jonestown suicides they all beleived this man was god, and murdered their own children and familys because of their faith. At what point in time do you realize you have crossed a line from religion to insanity?

    Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 4:25am
  19. Hmm. I don’t know why Marge is projecting her thoughts onto society as a whole. I think she has a mental disorder if she feels so disgusted by so many things. Sounds like she isn’t comfortable in her own skin for some reason. I would seek counseling. Sounds like someone did something seriously f’d up to you dear to make you loathe human nature so much. All the psychiatric jargon you speak it sounds like you have quite the hang up on all of these things that you have gone on an exploration to seek answers, though I don’t think you have found them.

    And we don’t permit people to shit in the streets because we think we are this thing called “civilized.” The same reason we are not permitted to run around naked. It’s not something agreed upon world round. Are people in tribes mentally ill because they shit in bushes and wear loin cloths? Are they disgusting? What a stupid analogy.

    Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 8:05am
  20. I am not even commenting on the article. I see that the gender change subject gets mixed with the Gay and Lesbian stuff. This is more news B.S. They are getting several peoples opinions blended to create tension and increased news coverage. I do not think this is the same subject. There are two separate types of people who might want gender changes. Some are not crazy and can make decisions based on what they believe is their true nature. Some of those same people have been found to have parts and chemicals in their bodies of both sexes. They are just trying to become what might have been disturbed by a birth defect, mother drinking ,smoking or on drugs. Lots of those peoples lives are a struggle. On the other hand there are the crazies!! People who will do themselves harm if not stopped. I would hate to be the person deciding who is crazy or not. So teens do become confused and some are not. Some teens try to fit in and become something they are not in-order to fit in. A program is needed to figure out who those confused ones are and help them. Without hurting those who truly are not confused and probably a poor treatment would cause them to commit suicide. This isn’t a question of what is right or wrong. This is about hurting Teens and others who may or may not need help. I do not believe all the treatments for things like this are negative. They might be trying to test for certain responses to help a confused child decide or see if they really are different or if it is mostly in they head. If the treatment in totally based on whats right and wrong then damage will be done. You shouldn’t change people to fit your mold. Just help those who get caught in the middle and lose their way. What ever that way might be. If you tell a rabbit it is a horse. It will still never win a race. It might shoot itself for failing!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 9:35am