Government report recommends ban on ‘gay cure’ therapy

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A new US government report has recommended that ‘ex-gay’ conversion therapy is ended for young people, once and for all.

The news comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which released a report on the practise this week.

The SAMHSA report reveals the consensus of a panel of experts, researchers, and practitioners in the fields of child and adolescent mental health, family therapy, ethics, and the psychology of religion.

The panel “found that variations in sexual orientation and gender identity are normal, and that conversion therapies or other efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity are not effective, are harmful, and are not appropriate therapeutic practices”

SAMHSA Acting Administrator Kana Enomoto said: “When dealing with a sensitive topic such as gender identity or sexual orientation in young people, it is essential that families, educators, caregivers, and providers seek the best available information and advice.”

Barack Obama called for the end to ‘gay cure’ therapy in April, with an adviser saying: “We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer youth.

“The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm.”

HRC President Chad Griffin said: “Conversion therapy is child abuse, and the Obama Administration has joined our call to ban its practice once and for all.

“This is dangerous junk science that uses fear and shame to tell young people the only way to find love and acceptance is by changing the very nature of who they are.

“Today’s new health report shows the extensive damage that so-called conversion therapy can cause and why it’s so urgent that we end it in all fifty states.”

Earlier this year, Washington DC became the third jurisdiction in the US to ban gay-to-straight conversion therapy.

In 2013 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld California’s ban on gay cure therapies, and in December last year the 3rd Circuit upheld a similar law in New Jersey.