In a White House statement posted on Wednesday alongside a WhiteHouse.gov petition that was started following the death of 17-year-old transgender youth Leelah Alcorn, President Obama's senior adviser Valerie Jarrett wrote, “As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”
APA has long recognized the dangers of so-called reparative therapies. In a 2000 position statement, the Association reaffirmed its opposition to “any psychiatric treatment, such as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy, that is based on the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or is based on the a priori assumption that the patient should change his or her homosexual orientation." APA noted that there were “sparse scientific data about selection criteria, risks versus benefits of the treatment, and long-term outcomes of ‘reparative’ therapies.” Moreover, these therapies are at odds with APA’s position that sexual orientation is not a mental disorder.
“We applaud President Obama for his principled and scientific stand," said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. "LGBT individuals deserve treatment, when they seek it, that meets the highest standard of evidence, and APA has long recognized that so-called reparative therapy doesn't meet that standard and can, in fact, be hazardous. We are pleased that the White House shares our concern about this issue, and we support the President's call for a ban on reparative therapy.”
Yesterday, in an early report in the New York Times, the newspaper had stated that President Obama was calling for an end to “psychiatric therapies" aimed at "repairing" gay, lesbian, and transgender youth. APA reacted quickly to the erroneous statement that reparative or conversion therapies are “psychiatric therapies" by contacting The New York Times. The newspaper posted an updated report by mid-evening that dropped the reference to “psychiatric therapies."
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