© 2020 The Kelsey Coalition

CONCERNS

Ban Real "Conversion Therapy"

“Conversion therapy” originally referred to the abusive methods once used to try to change a person’s sexual orientation, such as the administration of electric shocks, lobotomies, castration, and the surgical implantation of “heterosexual” testicles without the patient's consent.

 

These unethical and harmful practices were egregious and rightfully banned.

 

Today, there is another form of “conversion therapy” that is performed on children: the hormonal and surgical conversion of their bodies on the basis of their identities as transgender or non-binary.

 

Many underlying factors are contributing to the rapid increase in the number of young people with these identitiesmental health issues, autism, ADHD, trauma, and sexual confusion, as well as peer and media influences

 

Despite evidence of psychosocial influences, most major professional psychological and medical associations promote an “affirmative care” model, while incorrectly asserting that this protocol is evidence-based and reflects “best practices”:

 

When transgender children get support affirming their gender identities, their mental health difficulties go down; when they don’t get support, they go up.

American Psychological Association, Continuing Education materials

 

Many anatomical inconsistencies now can be corrected surgically or chemically to align with the experienced true self. A medical diagnosis for transgender individuals, whose self-experienced gender does not match the sex assigned at birth and who require medical services to align the body with the experienced self, is more appropriate and consistent with research and best practices than a mental health diagnosis.

National Association of Social Workers

 

School counselors recognize that the responsibility for determining a student’s gender identity rests with the student rather than outside confirmation from medical practitioners, mental health professionals or documentation of legal changes.

Position Statement from the American School Counselor Association

 

Not only does the “affirmative care” model discourage therapists from considering underlying psychosocial issues, but its practice often leads to drastic medical interventions.

 

This issue is made more serious thanks to the "conversion therapy” bans currently in effect in eighteen states, the District of Columbia, and many municipalities throughout the US. These bans legally require therapists to affirm the “identities” of minor children under their states' statutory definitions of “conversion therapy,” which now include “gender identity.” Similar bills have been introduced in many other states.

 

A bill to ban "conversion therapy" nationwide has been introduced in the House (H.R. 3570) and the Senate (S.2008), the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2019. 

 

“Conversion therapy” bans prevent therapists from examining underlying psychosocial issues to help children understand and accept their bodies, identities, and feelings. They impede therapists from doing their job as responsible professionals and pose an unconstitutional restriction on their right to free speech.

 

Most concerning of all: ”conversion therapy” bans that prevent therapists from helping children accept their bodies leads to body-altering hormonal and surgical interventions.

 

These hormonal treatments on children are experimental. The medical literature on the health effects of hormonal interventions “in the pediatric/adolescent population is completely lacking.” The drugs used are based on low-quality evidence, or no evidence at all. The consequences of these hormonal treatments include potential sterility, sexual dysfunction, thromboembolic and cardiovascular disease, and malignancy

 

These health consequences might well be irreversible. The full extent of the harms to young developing brains and bodies remains unknown.

 

“Gender identities” are being quickly and irreversibly medicalized at increasingly younger ages. Puberty-blocking drugs are routinely given to prepubescent children. Girls as young as 12 are injected with testosterone, while teen boys are treated with feminizing hormones.

 

“Gender-confirming” surgeries are now being performed on minor children.

 


Children should not receive body-altering interventions on the basis of feelings, self-diagnosis, and unprovable identities. Medically transforming their bodies to comport with their feelings is the ultimate "conversion therapy."

 

Yet state and local conversion therapy bans legally mandate therapists to "affirm" the gender identities of minors. Ironically, these bans that purport to prevent harm to children actually promote it by leading them to irreversible body-altering treatments -- some of whom, if left alone, would likely grow up to be healthy gay, lesbian, or bisexual adults.

 

We are calling for a Real Conversion Therapy Ban to end this identity-based medical experiment. Drastic and irreversible medical interventions that harm children must be outlawed.