WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Wednesday reintroduced a resolution asking the U.S. House of Representatives to encourage states to take steps to prevent minors from being harmed by controversial and discredited gay-to-straight conversion therapy.
When first introduced last year, the Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) resolution was the first federal action taken to end the discredited sexual orientation change therapy — often referred to as “reparative therapy.”
The practice is now banned in California and New Jersey.
Since then, state legislatures in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, and Ohio are currently considering similar measures, and a similar bill is expected to be introduced in Minnesota in 2014.
“These practices have been rejected by every mainstream mental health association as neither safe nor effective,” said Speier, in a statement. “These efforts frequently increase family rejection, which we know make LGBT youth 8.4 times more likely than straight youth to report attempting suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, and 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs.”
The American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy have all issued cautionary statements opposing sexual orientation change efforts.
An August 2009 report by the American Psychological Association Task Force on “Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation,” stated that “efforts to change someone’s sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve major risks of harm to an individual both mentally and physically, contrary to the claims from professionals who subscribe to the practice.”
Article continues below“Efforts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity pose critical health risks, including depression, shame, and self-harm.” said Hayley Gorenberg, Deputy Legal Director of Lambda Legal in a statement to LGBTQ Nation.
“For minors, who are often subjected to these practices at the insistence of parents who don’t know or don’t believe that the efforts are harmful, the risks of long-term mental and physical health consequences are particularly severe,” said Gorenberg.
“In addition, when these efforts ‘fail,’ many LGBTQ children are kicked out of their homes,” she said.
According to Speier’s office, the resolution has 15 House co-sponsors.