Therapists Fight Efforts to Block Treatment for Same-Sex Attraction/Behavior

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D.     | May 4, 2017

NEW YORK, May 5 (C-Fam) A complaint to the Federal Trade Commission denounces the “lies, deception, and fraud” of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights for their efforts to ban therapy for those who want to leave the homosexual life.

More than sixty licensed therapists, psychiatrists, and physicians who practice sexual orientation change therapy, alongside more than a thousand clients and their families, filed the complaint, entitled “In Their Own Words,” at the National Taskforce for Therapy Equality. They asked the Federal Trade Commission to act against the LGBT groups for engaging in “unfair and deceptive acts and practices” in violation of federal law.

“We have documented dozens of examples of fraudulent testimony in state legislatures, including videos of activists lying in court,” said Christopher Doyle, Co-Coordinator of the National Task Force for Therapy Equality.

LGBT groups have falsely accused mental health practitioners of torturing and shaming youths and adults who experience same-sex attraction, or gender dysphoria, through moral intimidation, electro-shock therapy, and other “aversion” therapies designed to coerce changes in behavior through pain or moral intimidation. Doyle says these charges are complete fabrications.

“We know how to work with people. We never shame them,” Doyle said. “I used to have same-sex attraction myself,” he explained. Doyle is now happily married and has five children.

The complaint explains that aversion therapy was long ago abandoned entirely in the mental health field and replaced by cognitive therapy. No evidence exists that any therapist or psychiatrist anywhere in the United States currently uses such methods. The complaint demonstrates that none of the LGBT activists’ claims about the use of such methods has been verified.

Doyle said the LGBT groups strategize to plant a powerful narrative in legislators’ minds even if their claims are never verified.

Doyle did not deny the existence of some abuses committed by unlicensed individuals or groups. But such cases do not justify complete bans on therapy that has helped thousands of individuals cope with and overcome same-sex attraction, he said.

Ending “conversion therapy” is a top priority for LGBT groups. Six U.S. states have passed laws prohibiting licensed professionals from providing this kind of therapy to minors.

In 2014, a New Jersey Court applied a broad consumer protection statute to include religious not-for-profit peer-to-peer counseling to help any individual cope with or overcome unwanted same-sex attraction.

In 2014, the National Center for Lesbian Rights went to Geneva to request a condemnation of such therapies by the UN Committee Against Torture. In subsequent years, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights recommended banning such therapy, and the recently established UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity stated his intent to ban it throughout the world.

The National Taskforce for Therapy Equality is currently responding to a complaint from the same three LGBT groups it is now accusing. “They want to defame and shut down any therapeutic or experiential weekend giving an alternative to leading the gay life,” Doyle explained.

The complaint states there is no conclusive scientific evidence that sexual orientation change effort therapy is either harmful or effective.