Connecticut has banned a procedure meant to change one’s sense of gender a process known as “conversion therapy”. This highly damaging process attempts to deny a person the most innate knowledge of one’s self, that being one’s gender, and seeks to instill an interpretation of it as observed by the ‘therapists’. Those actually committing this fraud against the individual aren’t normally licensed practicing therapists, rather they are usually church clergy assisted by lay people.
This week, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy (D) signed HB 6695 To protect youth from conversion therapy into law, making it illegal for licensed mental health professionals in the state of Connecticut to practice conversion therapy for LGBT youth. Reports Psychology Today. The bill passed a unanimous vote in the Connecticut Senate.
Conversion therapy (also called reparative therapy) refers to any attempt to change a youth’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The bill makes Connecticut the eighth US state to take action against conversion therapy, joining the company of California, The District of Columbia, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Illinois, Oregon, and Vermont.
Political attention to conversion therapy increased in 2015, when 17-year-old transgender girl Leelah Alcorn tragically ended her life by jumping in front of a tractor-trailer near her home in Kings Mills, Ohio. It was later found that she wrote an online suicide note, explaining that religious therapists had been trying to convert her to being cisgender through “conversion therapies.”
Leelah asked in her suicide note that “my death mean something” in a schedualed post on Tumblr. Leelah’s mother disavowed that Tumblr post removed it and asked that it not be republished. Amy Walker recognizing the importance that her note be preserved published Leelah Alcorn’s suicide note which can be read in full here.
Many cities have begun taking up the slack where states falter. Seattle, Cincinnati and Toledo have all enacted city ordinances in response to Leelah Alcorn’s suicide banning conversion therapy for those under 18.
The process of converting a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity has been identified as harmful by the American Psychological Association (APA), The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Counseling Association, The American Psychiatric Association, The American Psychological Association, The National Association of Social Workers.
In a position statement endorsed by American Association of School Administrators, American Counseling Association, American Federation of Teachers, American School Counselor Association, American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals “x-gay” and by extension “x-trans” methodology has been identified as harmful.
The lone voices opposing the banning of conversion programs come from the far right who were curiously absent from the conversation in Connecticut.
The mainstay of the right’s ‘medical’ opposition to conversion therapy comes from the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) identified by the SLPC as an anti-LGBT hate group founded in 2002. It bills itself as “a national organization of pediatricians and other healthcare professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children.”
This is a fringe organization, under the veneer of its professional-sounding name and claims, works to defame and discredit LGBT people, often by distorting legitimate research. It consists of around 200 members and started because a small group of anti-LGBT physicians and other healthcare professionals broke away from the 60,000 member American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), composed of leaders in the professional field, to form its own group after the AAP issued a new policy statement in 2002 in support of adoption and foster parenting by same-sex couples.