CHICAGO — Truth Wins Out today praised Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) for reintroducing the “Stop Harming Our Kids” (SHOK) resolution, which seeks to protect American children from practitioners of the scientifically discredited, demonstrably harmful practice of “ex-gay” or”reparative” therapy. Speier’s non-binding resolution, which has thirteen co-sponsors, would encourage states to follow the lead of New Jersey and California in taking legislative action to stop the practice from being inflicted on minors.
According to Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen, “The pushers and peddlers of guilt and shame known as ‘reparative’ therapists’ pretend to be experts, when in reality they are simply extremists and ideologues taking advantage of desperate and vulnerable people. Since every mainstream medical and mental health association in America rejects so-called reparative therapy, this resolution is a no-brainer. Either you support America’s kids or you support quack doctors with an extremist religious agenda.”
Truth Wins Out recently launched a comprehensive website, LGBTScience.org, where the foremost scientists studying sexual orientation speak plainly about the current scientific consensus on sexuality. It is an unbiased resource for all members of Congress interested in studying the scientific truth about sexual orientation. All major medical and mental health associations, including the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association, have stated that reparative therapy is ineffective at best, and can be extremely harmful to clients, especially impressionable minors who do not yet have the agency to make informed choices on therapy and are often subjected to reparative therapy by well-meaning parents who aren’t aware of the dangers of the discredited treatment.
Proponents of “reparative” or “ex-gay” therapy frequently couch the issue as a matter of religious freedom, but as the NALT Christians Project shows, one need not renounce religious faith in order to embrace science and best therapeutic practices for LGBT clients in crisis. Truth Wins Out encourages members of Congress not to be swayed by those who will falsely claim that their religious freedom is somehow threatened by passing a bill that ensures quality mental health care for the children of the United States.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, LGBT teens who experienced negative feedback from their family were 8 times more likely to have attempted suicide, 6 times as vulnerable to severe depression, and 3 times more likely to use drugs (Caitlin Ryan, San Francisco State University, June 2009). Reparative therapy divides families in the name of family values, which can sometimes lead to the “negative feedback” that causes LGBT youth to harm themselves.
“Members of Congress shouldn’t be fooled by activists who claim to fight for ‘family values’ and simultaneously support the junk science of ‘reparative’ therapy,” said Truth Wins Out Associate Director Evan Hurst. “The debate is over and the science has spoken. This ‘therapy’ hurts kids, and the only ‘pro-family’ position is to fully support Rep. Speier’s resolution.”
Rep. Speier’s bill is co-sponsored by Reps. David Cicilline, Ted Deutch, Keith Ellison, Raúl Grijalva, Bill Keating, Jim Moran, Niki Tsongas, Sean Patrick Maloney, Allyson Schwartz, Jan Schakowsky, Jim McGovern, Betty McCollum, Susan Davis and Mark Pocan. All are to be commended for standing up in support of America’s children against the reprehensible practice of “reparative” or “conversion” therapy.
Truth Wins Out (TWO) is a non-profit organization that works to demolish the very foundation of anti-gay prejudice. Our philosophy is simple: We attack the underpinnings of homophobia by debunking harmful lies, discrediting hateful myths, and countering anti-gay organizations. By chipping away at the underlying ignorance that fuels anti-LGBT attitudes, we can ultimately win our fight for fairness and achieve full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people worldwide.