Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"Conversion Therapy" Resolution Aims to Protect LGBTQ Youth

Congresswoman Jackie Speier yesterday reintroduced the Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) Resolution, the first proposed federal action to put an end to so-called “conversion therapy.” The Stop Harming Our Kids Resolution calls on states to protect minors from efforts that promote or promise to change the gender identity or sexual orientation of individuals.

In a press conference this morning, Congresswoman Speier said, “It’s time to end this abusive quackery masquerading as medicine. Being transgender, gay, lesbian, or bisexual is not a disease to be cured or a mental illness that requires treatment. That view has been rejected as scientifically invalid by the American Psychiatric Association and many other mental health groups for nearly forty years.”

NCTE Director of Policy Harper Jean Tobin spoke at the press conference and said:

"Transgender youth face extraordinary challenges. Many desperately need real support. Nationally, 75% of trans youth feel unsafe at school. Unfortunately, many parents just don’t have information about what it means to be transgender. They are reaching out for insight and support, because they love their child. So-called ‘conversion therapy’ offers a dangerous illusion for these families—instead it delivers harm […]Today’s resolution draws attention to these baseless programs and encourages states to take steps to protect minors. Every child deserves to be loved for who they are."

The action comes on the heels of White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett’s response last week to a “We the People” petition calling for a federal ban on conversion therapy. Jarrett said “We share your concern about conversion therapy and its devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer youth […] As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban conversion therapy for minors.”

The petition, which generated over 120,000 supporters, was sparked by the tragic suicide of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen in Ohio who was forced into conversion therapy by her parents.

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