Conversion therapy programs “constitute an egregious violation of rights to bodily autonomy, health, and free expression of one’s sexual orientation and gender identity. Ultimately, when conducted forcibly, they also represent a breach to the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment.” — Victor Madrigal-Borloz, U.N.’s official independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In a July 2020 address to the Human Rights Council, Madrigal-Borloz called for a global ban on so-called conversion therapies and noted they have been repeatedly linked to long-term mental and physical harm.
The following excerpts [aussi disponsible en français] are from the statements of associations of psychologists, psychiatrists and other experts that studied and reached conclusions about forms of therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation (variously called “ex-gay therapy,” “conversion therapy” and “reparative therapy”). These excerpts were collected by Maurice Tomlinson and AIDS-Free World:
American Psychological Association
“All major national mental health organizations have officially expressed concerns about therapies promoted to modify sexual orientation. To date, there has been no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation (sometimes called reparative or conversion therapy) is safe or effective.“ http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/sexual-orientation.aspx
“No, lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations are not disorders. Research has found no inherent association between any of these sexual orientations and psychopathology. Both heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Both have been documented in many different cultures and historical eras. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships are normal forms of human bonding. Therefore, these mainstream organizations long ago abandoned classifications of homosexuality as a mental disorder.“
The American Psychological Association also reviewed more than 83 studies (done by others) from 1960-2007 in its report on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).
(See here: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/therapeutic-response.pdf).
Page 41-42 does a good job at showing the studies both past and recent concerning concerns of harm.
They had this to say:
“We found that there was some evidence to indicate that individuals experienced harm from SOCE. Early studies documented iatrogenic effects of aversive forms of SOCE. These negative side effects included loss of sexual feeling, depression, suicidality, and anxiety. High drop rates characterized early aversive treatment studies and may be an indicator that research participants experienced these treatments as harmful.”
American Psychiatric Association
In its position statement on Psychiatric Treatment and Sexual Orientation the APA states:
“The potential risks of “reparative therapy” are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient. Many patients who have undergone “reparative therapy” relate that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction. The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented,nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed“
“No. All major professional mental health organizations have gone on record to affirm that homosexuality is not a mental disorder. In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association’s Board of Trustees removed homosexuality from its official diagnostic manual, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Second Edition (DSM II). The action was taken following a review of the scientific literature and consultation with experts in the field. The experts found that homosexuality does not meet the criteria to be considered a mental illness.”
Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK)
They said this in their position statement:
“The Royal College of Psychiatrists believes strongly in evidence-based treatment. There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish.”
“Royal College of Psychiatrists wishes to clarify that homosexuality is not a psychiatric disorder. There is now a large body of research evidence that indicates that being gay, lesbian or bisexual is compatible with normal mental health and social adjustment. However, the experiences of discrimination in society and possible rejection by friends, families and others, such as employers, means that some lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience a greater than expected prevalence of mental health and substance misuse problems.“
Indian Psychiatric Society
In their editorial they mentioned:
“The argument that homosexuality is a stable phenomenon is based on the consistency of same-sex attractions, the failure of attempts to change and the lack of success with treatments to alter orientation.“ http://orinam.net/content/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/IndianJPsychiatry5411-3939187_105631.pdf
“Research also demonstrated that people with homosexual orientation did not have objective psychological dysfunction or impairments in judgement, stability and vocational capabilities. Psychiatric, psychoanalytic, medical and mental health professionals now consider homosexuality as a normal variation of human sexuality.”
American Medical Association
The AMA in its policy statement on Health Care Needs of Gay Men and Lesbians in the United States reads:
“most of the emotional disturbance experienced by gay men and lesbians around their sexual identity is not based on physiological causes but rather is due more to a sense of alienation in an unaccepting environment. For this reason, aversion therapy (a behavioral or medical intervention which pairs unwanted behavior, in this case, homosexual behavior, with unpleasant sensations or aversive consequences) is no longer recommended for gay men and lesbians. Through psychotherapy, gay men and lesbians can become comfortable with their sexual orientation and understand the societal response to it.“
Also they wrote:
“Our AMA opposes, the use of “reparative” or “conversion” therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.“
Pan-American Health Organisation (World Health Organisation)
They issued a press release which said:
“Services that purport to “cure” people with non-heterosexual sexual orientation lack medical justification and represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people“…”.”These practices are unjustifiable and should be denounced and subject to sanctions and penalties under national legislation,” said Dr. Roses. “These supposed conversion therapies constitute a violation of the ethical principles of health care and violate human rights that are protected by international and regional agreements.“
“Since homosexuality is not a disorder or a disease, it does not require a cure. There is no medical indication for changing sexual orientation,” said PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses Periago. Practices known as “reparative therapy” or “conversion therapy” represent “a serious threat to the health and well-being—even the lives—of affected people.” The PAHO statement notes that there is a professional consensus that homosexuality is a natural variation of human sexuality and cannot be regarded as a pathological condition. However, several United Nations bodies have confirmed the existence of “therapists” and “clinics” that promote treatment”
Psychological Society of South Africa
“Research and clinical experience further concludes that for most people sexual orientation is not “a choice” or “voluntary.” Further, there is no reliable evidence that sexual orientation is subject to redirection, “conversion” or any significant influence from efforts by psychological or other interventions….Research and clinical experience concludes that homosexual or bisexual orientations are naturally occurring minority variations of normal human sexuality. They are also documented widely throughout nature.“
Chinese Psychological Association
“China’s psychiatric association is removing homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in a new diagnostic manual due out this year, the group’s vice president said today.The 8,000-member association has concluded that homosexuality is not a perversion, the vice president, Dr. Chen Yanfang, said. “Many homosexuals lead perfectly normal lives,” he said.” The change comes after five years of study by the association, Dr. Chen said. He said its evidence included a study published in 1999 that followed the daily lives of 51 Chinese gays and lesbians for one year.”
Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists
“The Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists opines that homosexuality is not a psychiatric disorder. The Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists adheres firmly to the practice of scientifically proven and evidence-based treatment. Psychiatric treatments have to be provided according to well established principles and practice available at the time. There is, at present, no sound scientific and clinical evidence supporting the benefits of attempts to alter sexual orientation.”
Australian Psychological Society
They said on their website:
“Psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals agree that homosexuality is not an illness, mental disorder or emotional problem. The Australian Psychological Society acknowledges the lack of scientific evidence for the usefulness of conversion therapy, and notes that it can in fact be harmful for the individual. “
American Counselling Association
The American Counseling Association adopted a resolution in 1998 stating that it:
“opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation; and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation, mental health, and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based on ignorance or unfounded beliefs about same-gender sexual orientation. Further, in April 1999, the ACAGoverning Council adopted a position opposing the promotion of “reparative therapy” as a “cure” for individuals who are homosexual.“
American Academy of Pediatrics
The AAP in its policy statement on Homosexuality and Adolescence states:
“Confusion about sexual orientation is not unusual during adolescence. Counseling may be helpful for young people who are uncertain about their sexual orientation or for those who are uncertain about how to express their sexuality and might profit from an attempt at clarification through a counseling or psychotherapeutic initiative. Therapy directed specifically at changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation.“
National Association of Social Workers
The NASW in its Policy Statement on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Issues states that it:
“endorses policies in both the public and private sectors that ensure nondiscrimination; that are sensitive to the health and mental health needs of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people; and that promote an understanding of lesbian, gay, and bisexual cultures. Social stigmatization of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people is widespread and is a primary motivating factor in leading some people to seek sexual orientation changes. Sexual orientation conversion therapies assume that homosexual orientation is both pathological and freely chosen. No data demonstrate that reparative or conversion therapies are effective, and in fact they may be harmful. NASW believes social workers have the responsibility to clients to explain the prevailing knowledge concerning sexual orientation and the lack of data reporting positive outcomes with reparative therapy. NASW discourages social workers from providing treatments designed to change sexual orientation or from referring practitioners or programs that claim to do so.”
American School Counsellor Association
In its position statement on professional school counselors and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, andquestioning youth, states:
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) youth often begin to experience self-identification during their pre-adolescent or adolescent 7 years, as do heterosexual youth. These developmental processes are essential cognitive, emotional and social activities, and although they may have an impact on student development and achievement, they are not a sign of illness, mental disorder or emotional problems nor do they necessarily signify sexual activity. . . . It is not the role of the professional school counselor to attempt to change a student’s sexual orientation/gender identity but instead to provide support to LGBTQ students to promote student achievement and personal well-being. . . .Recognizing that sexual orientation is not an illness and does not require treatment, professional school counselors may provide individual student planning or responsive services to LGBTQ students to promote self-acceptance, deal with social acceptance, understand issues related to “coming out,” including issues that families may face when a student goes through this process, and identify appropriate community resources.“
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
According to their website they said:
“The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy takes the position that same sex orientation is not a mental disorder. Therefore, we do not believe that sexual orientation in and of itself requires treatment or intervention…From time to time AAMFT receives questions about a practice know as reparative or conversion therapy, which is aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation. As stated in previous AAMFT policy, the association does not consider homosexuality a disorder that requires treatment, and as such, we see no basis for such therapy. AAMFT expects its members to practice based on the best research and clinical evidence available.“
American Psychoanalytic Association
In their 2012 position statement they said:
“The American Psychoanalytic Association affirms the right of all people to their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression without interference or coercive interventions attempting to change sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
As with any societal prejudice, bias against individuals based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression negatively affects mental health, contributing to an enduring sense of stigma and pervasive self-criticism through the internalization of such prejudice.
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 damaging internalized attitudes.“
- ‘Gay-cure’ group apologizes, quits, but will it repair damage? (76crimes.com)
- Worldwide damage: What Exodus knew and kept lying about (76crimes.com)
- Plea for Jamaican LGBT rights now that ‘gay cure’ lie is past (76crimes.com)
August 2019 — This pioneering report by OutRight Action International provides a global snapshot of what is known about “conversion therapy” around the world, including who is most vulnerable, what factors lead LGBTIQ people to choose or to be subjected to these harmful practices, what are the main forms of “conversion therapy,” and who are the main perpetrators.