Dangerous Conversion Therapy
Florida House Bill 41 and Florida Senate Bill180 have been introduced in the Florida Legislature. These bills ban conversion therapy for persons under the age of 18 years. Conversion, or reparative, ‘therapy’ is considered a pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual interventions. These dangerous and discredited practices falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression and have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization. Due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy. According to the Human Rights Campaign, minors are especially vulnerable and this dangerous therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.
Some right-wing religious groups promote the concept that an individual can change their sexual orientation or gender identity, through prayer or other religious efforts, or through ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy. The research on such efforts has disproven their efficacy and affirmed their harmfulness. 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 conversion therapy, including the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Counseling Association, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, and the National Association of Social Workers to name a few.
According to the World Psychiatric Association, “There is no sound scientific evidence that innate sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality can create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish, and they can be potentially harmful. The provision of any intervention purporting to “treat” something that is not a disorder is wholly unethical.