Monday, February 24, 2014

Case Examples of Harmful Reparative Therapy Sought for Legal Case

The organization Lambda Legal wishes to hear from psychiatrists and other licensed therapists who can relate real-life stories of the negative impact on and damage done to individuals who were subjected to reparative therapies as youth. According to APA member Jack Drescher, M.D. (photo at left), Lambda Legal will use the information anonymously in the preparation of an amicus brief to file in the case King v. Christie.

The case stems from a challenge to a law signed in August 2013 by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie prohibiting state-licensed therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of patients under age 18. An anti-LGBT legal group immediately filed a federal lawsuit challenging the law on behalf of two New Jersey therapists and two organizations that support the use of these therapies to change sexual orientation. In November 2013, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed the suit, ruling that the law does not violate freedom of speech or religion. The case is now on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Jack Drescher, M.D., who, at the request of the New Jersey Attorney General's office, has filed a declaration in support of this law, told Psychiatric News: "I think it important for mental health practitioners who know the harm done by sexual orientation conversion efforts speak up and participate in providing further clinical material to support this law.

Drescher is a past president of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry and a member of APA’s DSM-5 Workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders.

The amicus brief is due March 6. Those who would like to share case information should contact Amy Shapiro of Lambda Legal at (917) 446-7116 or


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