For Immediate Release
December 4, 2013
DC – Bill Silverfarb (202) 225-3531 / (202) 957-4340 cell
CA – Katrina Rill (650) 342-0300 / (650) 208-7441 cell
Congresswoman Speier Calls Again for End to LGBT Conversion Quackery
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congresswoman Jackie Speier, (D- San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City) reintroduced a resolution today to protect young people from the psychological abuse of so-called LGBT conversion practices. The Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) resolution urges states to end these harmful and discredited sexual orientation change efforts. When introduced last year the resolution was the first federal action taken to end this quackery and now has bipartisan support in states across the country.
“When Jerry Spencer told his family that he was gay, his mother told him not to worry because they would quote ‘fix it.’ This began seven years of going through so-called ‘conversion therapy’ to try to make him straight,” Speier said on the House floor Tuesday. “He was forced to put blocks of ice on his hands while he looked at pictures of guys holding hands, and would only be given relief from the pain if he pleaded to see a picture of a guy and girl holding hands. Other survivors of this quackery were told to strip down and hold their genitalia or to snap themselves with a rubber band every time they experienced same-sex attraction. Jerry said that each time he left, quote, ‘a little more destroyed’.”
An American Psychological Association Task Force concluded that sexual orientation change efforts can pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, including confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, thoughts of suicide, substance abuse, stress, disappointment, self-blame and decreased self-esteem.
Speier continued: “These practices have been rejected by every mainstream mental health association as neither safe nor effective. These efforts frequently increase family rejection, which we know make LGBT youth 8.4 times more likely than straight youth to report attempting suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, and 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs.”
The SHOK resolution urges states around the country to pass measures to prevent sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts being practiced on minors. California and New Jersey passed laws that remove the licenses of health practitioners engaging in so-called “conversion therapy” on LGBT minors. Republican Governor Chris Christie signed the law in New Jersey, concluding that he could not support exposing children to "these serious risks."
State legislatures in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, and Ohio are currently also considering similar measures.
The SHOK resolution is supported by the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Trevor Project, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Truth Wins Out, Parents, Families & Friends Lesbians and Gays National and the Stop Abuse Campaign.
The resolution has 15 cosponsors.