Proposed bills for conversion therapy can be more harmful than good

MeN 2013 A The conservative government has legalized same-sex marriage. This was the latest step in Britain’s social liberalization, which began in the 1960s, and the modernization of the Conservative Party itself. Despite the opposition of the time, the results are now considered indisputable within the party.

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Now another conservative government is seeking its own moment of modernization. A short public consultation on the ban on “conversion therapy” will end on December 10 with the aim of passing the law before the international conference on gay and trance issues in London next June. Proponents say they need to end practices that hurt sexual minorities. The enemy may exacerbate the harm it seeks to end.

The plan is to create a criminal offense that covers treatments that are intended to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Supported by Campaign Group. One CEO, Stonewall, was totally opposed to consulting the general public because he believed it was clearly correct. However, critics have pointed out three problems. Poor evidence base. And the introduction of “gender identity” into the law.

Until the 1960s, when homosexuality between men was still illegal, efforts to straighten gay people by “aversion therapy” such as prayer, counsel, or electric shock were common. However, being homosexual is widely accepted as both benign and innate, and not only cruel, but also destined to fail. As long as they are still occurring, it is primarily in a religious situation and consists of laying on of hands, etc., rather than physical abuse (which is already illegal anyway). “Now there is no legitimate registered psychotherapist to persuade non-homosexuals,” said psychiatrist David Bell, who wrote a critical report in 2018. GIDS, A specialized gender clinic for children in the United Kingdom.

Transgender therapy (not defined by the proposed law) is another matter. Not because transgender people are inherently problematic, but more problematic than gay people, but unlike sexual orientation, gender identity is not well defined and not always stable. .. “It’s very dangerous to squeeze the two,” he said before. GIDS.. You may be separated from your biological gender for a variety of reasons, including autism spectrum disorders, depression, trauma, and a history of sexual abuse. Responsible clinical practice needs to investigate such possibilities. However, the phrase “trans-conversion therapy” is used to mean an approach other than instantly confirming a person’s stated gender, says Dr. Hutchinson. “It goes against the cure.”

The only safeguard is the perception that patients “if they are asking questions, conversational therapy may be appropriate.” LGBT Condition “. But” many of my patients do not question. They are very assertive that they are transgender, “he insists on investigating all comorbidities with transgender patients. Says family doctor Susan Thompson (not her real name). “At this point, I could be put in jail,” she says. Even with few prosecutions, the law warns medical professionals of anything other than unquestionable affirmations. It will also reinforce the tendency of schools to follow the transsexual identity claimed by their children, sometimes without even telling their parents.

The second complaint about the bill is the poor quality of evidence on which it is based. A government-consigned report by researchers at Coventry University seeks to show that transconversion therapy is similar to an attempt to “pray away from homosexuals.” However, that conclusion cannot be drawn from the very limited studies presented. The report relies on a few articles and interviews, none of which proves evidence of harm. Many consist of one question: an online recognition survey based on a 6-minute fictitious video clip and a non-representative survey by the American Transgender Lobby Group. An ever-increasing number of “transgenders,” or people who perceive it as transgender and later change their minds, are ignored.

The third major complaint is that the proposal introduces the vague concept of “gender identity” into English law for the first time. In 2020, a feminist grassroots movement succeeded in forcing the government to abandon plans to allow anyone to freely change their legal gender. It would, in effect, make self-describing gender identity a determinant of legally counting as male or female, and abolish gender-separated spaces and services at once. The plan is “a smoke screen to legislate the ideology of gender identity,” said Maya Fourstayer, one of the founders of Sex Matters, an organization that campaigns for gender-based rights.

Discussions will take place when an independent review of gender identity services for children is underway, led by Hillary Cass, the former president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Pediatric Health. The findings are expected next year. “Why don’t you wait until Cass is published?” Asks Dr. Bell. But the government is facing a dilemma. It appeals to young voters by showing that it’s not chunky, while at the same time letting voters in the socially conservative older working class know that it’s not too “awakened”. ..

This complicates seconds U-Turn on transformer problems quickly and continuously. And if the bill is submitted to Congress in its current form, MPEven if the increasing numbers on the benches of many conservatives and Labor parties are worrisome, s may be afraid to vote against it. Few voters understand how much is hidden in the word “conversion therapy.” MPs may be afraid to be smeared as a prejudice.

Perhaps the most worrisome is the impact on children. Many seem to interpret the upset of same-sex attraction as an indication of transgender identity.In last year’s article BJPsych Bulletin, Medical journal, Bristol consultant psychiatrist Lucy Griffin, and co-author GIDS In one calendar year, only 8.5% were attracted primarily to boys.

Collateral damage

When such children reach the age of 16, the sex clinic prescribes synthetic hormones. Such drugs were used to “chemically castrate” Alan Turing, Dr. Griffin points out. Homosexual mathematicians who helped cryptanalysis defeat the Nazis accepted the drug as an alternative to imprisonment. “Everything,” says Dr. Griffin. “Risk is exercised by damaging the people they are trying to protect.” ■■

This article was published in the UK section of the printed version under the heading “Missing the mark”.

Proposed bills for conversion therapy can be more harmful than good

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