U.S. Joint Statement by Professional Organizations Warning against so-called Conversion Therapy
Since the beginning of 2015, two members of Gaylesta's Advocacy Committee have been creating a consensus statement among U.S. professional healthcare associations warning against the use of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) or gender identity change efforts (GICE), commonly known as conversion therapy or reparative therapy. The statement points to the ethically questionable and potentially harmful nature of these practices.
The work group includes representatives from the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), Mental Health America (MHA), the Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Addiction Professionals and their Allies (NALGAP), the American Counseling Association (ACA), The American Psychological Association (APA), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Medical Students Association (AMSA), GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, and the Clinical Social Work Association (CSWA). Observers from other organizations are also part of the work group. Contacts continue with other major national organizations to encourage their participation.
For a listing of the organizations that have currently agreed to sign the U.S. Joint Statement, please click here.
The current draft of the proposed Joint Statement may be viewed here.
This effort parallels a Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the U.K. that was signed by representatives of such diverse organizations as the National Health Service, the British Psychological Society, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and the Association of Christian Counsellors.
Following up on the UK's efforts, Jim Walker and Guy Albert decided to start a similar effort in the US but adding "conversion therapy" efforts that attempt to normalize gender identity and expression. In April 2015, Guy and Jim made a presentation to the Mental Health Liaison Group in Washington, DC, following this up with meetings with the American Psychological Association and Congressional staffers. Guy and Jim created a work group whose purpose is to issue this joint statement warning against the use of conversion therapy for adults as well as minors. Guy and Jim have been engaged in an ongoing, extensive outreach effort to national organizations asking them to participate. Their effort is bringing Gaylesta into the national arena as an organization devoted to the well-being of people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities or expressions.
For more background on this work, see the Guest Opinion by Jim Walker in the May/June 2015 issue of The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide. Jim Walker and Guy Albert also wrote a news article on the Gaylesta website in June, detailing information on the work group's activities up to that time.