05 Dec Efforts to End Reparative Therapy being Debated
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.