Efforts to End Reparative Therapy being Debated

Efforts to End Reparative Therapy being Debated

Diane Robertson

Last week, three House Democrats introduced a resolution to get states to end psychiatric help for children with unwanted same sex attraction. The “Stop Harming Our Kids Resolution,” H.Con.Res. 141, is a resolution that describes efforts to change the sexual orientation of minors as harmful, and states that it should be prohibited.

This Congressional Resolution is strikingly similar to a California Bill that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law which will ban reparative therapy for same sex attraction for use with minors, January 2013. The Congressional Resolution also states that “being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or gender nonconforming is not a disorder, disease, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming.”

Going along with the Congressional Resolution, the APA (American Psychological Association) just revised its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to no longer listbeing transgender as a mental disorder. When asked about the change, APA member Jack Drescher explained that “All psychiatric diagnoses occur within a cultural context. We know there is a whole community of people out there who are not seeking medical attention and live between the two binary categories. We wanted to send the message that the therapist’s job isn’t to pathologize.”

However, a federal judge has temporarily barred California from enforcing its ban on reparative therapy for the three psychiatrists who have sued to overturn the law. The plaintiffs, psychiatrist Anthony Duk, marriage and family therapist Donald Welch, and Aaron Bitzer, who underwent reparative therapy himself, argue that the law violates their constitutional right to free speech.

U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb agreed to block enforcement of the law for the plaintiffs until a trial can be held.  Other therapists in California will be required to obey the law. The judge said in his injunction that he expects the trio will prevail in getting the law struck down on constitutional grounds.

 

 

 

4 Comments
  • Anastasia
    Posted at 16:46h, 05 December Reply

    This is certainly a very delicate matter…one that I often feel queasy about when courts get involved. To make laws based on such matters seems strange, but I suppose it has become necessary nowadays.

    Personally, I feel that if a fully functional adult over the age of 18 actually wants to undergo this “therapy” then they should be allowed to do so. However, if parents/guardians are forcing their children to involuntarily be “changed”…THAT is wrong. The only person who can make a sexual or physical determination about their mind/body/gender is that particular person.

  • Meagan
    Posted at 09:34h, 06 December Reply

    I was mad at my parents for trying to get me fixed for something that wasn’t a problem, it still irks me to this day–but I understand that if the government swung in the opposite direction, blocking all therapy simply because the child doesn’t want it, or it’s under political debate, that it’s a slippery slope. It would open the door to government control in the name of children’s rights, and as the example shows above, they’re soooo good at knowing what everyone wants and what’s best for them 😛 Personally I wish all dog owners had to take classes and get permits so I could freely walk down the street and visit people and not worry about getting attacked–but I also understand that slope is slippery since it could mean more control. I hate backing off of things I would like to fix–but I really want freedom.

  • Meagan
    Posted at 09:34h, 06 December Reply

    That was supposed to be a tongue sticking out icon, oh well.

    • Anastasia
      Posted at 10:29h, 06 December Reply

      @Meagan

      Indeed, I agree with you 100%. I also don’t want the government to swing in the completely opposite direction…that would be a *new* type of disaster!

      I hope that one day soon we can finally find the perfect balance between all these issues. I’m confident it is there, we just have to find it and work towards it 🙂

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