"THERAPIES" TO CHANGE SEXUAL ORIENTATION
LACK MEDICAL JUSTIFICATION
Washington, D.C., 17 May 2012 (PAHO/WHO) — Services that purport to "cure" people with non-heterosexual sexual orientation lack medical justification and represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said in a position statement launched on 17 May, the International Day against Homophobia. The statement calls on governments, academic institutions, professional associations and the media to expose these practices and to promote respect for diversity.
Twenty two years ago, on May 17, the World Health Assembly removed homosexuality from the list of mental disorders when it approved a new version of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10).
"Since homosexuality is not a disorder or a disease, it does not require a cure. There is no medical indication for changing sexual orientation," said PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses Periago. Practices known as "reparative therapy" or "conversion therapy" represent "a serious threat to the health and well-being—even the lives—of affected people."
The PAHO statement notes that there is a professional consensus that homosexuality is a natural variation of human sexuality and cannot be regarded as a pathological condition. However, several United Nations bodies have confirmed the existence of "therapists" and "clinics" that promote treatment intended to change the sexual orientation of non-heterosexual people.
The document notes that no rigorous scientific studies demonstrate any efficacy of efforts to change sexual orientation. However, there are many testimonies about the severe harm to mental and physical health that such "services" can cause. Repression of sexual orientation has been associated with feelings of guilt and shame, depression, anxiety, and even suicide.
As an aggravating factor, there have been a growing number of reports about degrading treatments, and physical and sexual harassment under the guise of such "therapies," which are often provided illicitly. In some cases, adolescents have been subjected to such interventions involuntarily and even deprived of their liberty, sometimes kept in isolation for several months.
"These practices are unjustifiable and should be denounced and subject to sanctions and penalties under national legislation," said Dr. Roses. "These supposed conversion therapies constitute a violation of the ethical principles of health care and violate human rights that are protected by international and regional agreements."
To address the problem, PAHO makes a series of recommendations for governments, academic institutions, professional associations, the media, and civil society, including:
· “Conversion” or “reparative” therapies and the clinics offering them should be denounced and subject to adequate sanctions.
· Public institutions responsible for training health professionals should include courses on human sexuality and sexual health in their curricula, with a focus on respect for diversity and the elimination of attitudes of pathologization, rejection, and hate toward non-heterosexual persons.
· Professional associations should disseminate documents and resolutions by national and international institutions and agencies that call for the de-psychopathologization of sexual diversity and the prevention of interventions aimed at changing sexual orientation.
· In the media, homophobia in any of its manifestations and expressed by any person should be exposed as a public health problem and a threat to human dignity and human rights.
· Civil society organizations can develop mechanisms of civil vigilance to detect violations of the human rights of non-heterosexual persons and report them to the relevant authorities. They can also help to identify and report people and institutions involved in the administration of “reparative” or “conversion therapies.”
PAHO, which celebrates its 110th anniversary this year, is the oldest public health organization in the world. It works with its member countries to improve the health and the quality of life of the people of the Americas. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of WHO.
World Health Organization
“CURES” FOR AN ILLNESS THAT DOES NOT EXIST
Purported therapies aimed at changing sexual orientation lack medical justification and are ethically unacceptable
"REPARATIVE THERAPY" or "CONVERSION THERAPY"
Reported violations of personal integrity and other human rights
As an aggravating factor, “conversion therapies” have to be considered threats to the right to personal autonomy and to personal integrity. There are several testimonies from adolescents who have been subject to “reparative” interventions against their will, many times at their families’ initiative. In some cases, the victims were interned and deprived of their liberty, sometimes to the extent of being kept in isolation during several months.6 The testimonies provide accounts of degrading treatment, extreme humiliation, physical violence, aversive conditioning through electric shock or emetic substances, and even sexual harassment and attempts of “reparative rape,” especially in the case of lesbian women. Such interventions violate the dignity and human rights of the affected persons, independently of the fact that their “therapeutic” effect is nil or even counterproductive. In these cases, the right to health has not been protected as demanded by the regional and international obligations established through the Protocol of San Salvador and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
Read complete position statement - May 17, 2012
Spitzer Issues Apology for Study Supporting REPARATIVE THERAPY - 6/15/12 - Robert Spitzer, M.D. - has now RENOUNCED the findings that “REPARATIVE THERAPY” could help gay people change their sexual orientation
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GAY CONVERSION THERAPY DEVASTATED MY FAMILY - CHANA WILSON – 6/25/12 - REPARATIVE THERAPY, which attempts to make gay people straight, is not just futile -- It often causes serious harm, including increased depression, self-hatred, and even suicide. It can devastate not just a gay individual, but entire families…
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Facing the Truth About Reparative Therapy and America's War on Gay Teens - Tomas Mournian – 5/22/12 …The reparative therapy described in "Hiding Out" and my later related reportage chronicled torture practices that were coercive and, in many ways, the same as what was happening in the Iraqi torture sites. Reparative therapy or torture? Humiliation, isolation, extreme physical positions, and forced confessions were as common at Teen Help (a now-defunct umbrella organization that referred parents to reparative-therapy facilities that has been exposed on WWASPS Survivors Network) as at Abu Ghraib…
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The Lies and Dangers of Reparative Therapy – HRC - May 2012
Many right-wing religious groups promote the concept that an individual can change his or her sexual orientation, either through prayer or other religious efforts, or through so-called "reparative" or "conversion" therapy. The limited research on such efforts has disproven their efficacy, and also has indicated that they can be affirmatively harmful. Beyond studies focused solely on reparative therapy, broader research clearly demonstrates the significant harm that societal prejudice and family rejection has on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, particularly youth. Furthermore, there is significant anecdotal evidence of harm to LGBT people resulting from attempts to change their sexual orientation. Based on this body of evidence, every major medical and mental health organization in the United States has issued a statement condemning the use of reparative therapy…
Research on the Impacts of Reparative Therapy, Harms Caused by
Organizational Positions on Reparative Therapy
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
American Counseling Association
American Medical Association
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychoanalytic Association
American Psychological Association
American School Counselor Association
National Association of Social Workers
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO): Regional Office of the World Health Organization
Gay Catholic Priest, Fr. Marty Kurylowicz, 1997 “Coming Out”
by Vatican with
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