Conversion therapy, also sometimes known as “reparative therapy” refers to the attempts to cure or reverse the gender identity or sexual orientation of a minor. The practice is usually promoted as part of a religious or faith-based approach to dealing with homosexuality and gender identity issues. Conversion therapy is very controversial, in part because it claims that LGBTQ minors are in need of “curing” in order to identify as “straight.”
As attorneys who deal with child abuse cases on a regular basis, the question we are primarily hoping to address here, is where or not conversion therapy is abusive to children. However, with that in mind, we would like to remind our readers that the only stance we take on this issue is that we are pro-parents. We believe very strongly in a parent’s right to raise their children as they see fit, with as little interference from the state as possible.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the claims that anyone can be “cured” of their sexual orientation or gender identity is false.”Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades, but due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy.” they explain on their website.
They go on to discuss the fact that forcing people to adopt a different sexual orientation or gender identity that isn’t already inherent in themselves is harmful. “There is significant anecdotal evidence of harm to LGBTQ people resulting from attempts to change their sexual orientation and gender identity.” In addition, statistics provided by The Trevor Project, show that 43% of LGBTQ teens, from 9th through 12th grade, contemplate suicide. 30% of them actually made a suicide plan, and a full 30% of them went on to attempt it.
But not everyone agrees with this mindset. Brother’s Road (Brothers on a Road Less Travelled) is an online nonprofit, peer-led, peer-support community aimed at providing a forum for men with same sex attractions who are working to overcome their desires. The explanation provided on the website is that “instead of living a gay life or embracing a gay identity — we support each other in addressing our same-sex attractions in affirming ways that align with our faith, values, morals and life goals.“
According to the information Brother’s Road provides about their members experiences, many of them “have seen our same-sex sexual attractions diminish in intensity or frequency over the years, or have seen sexual or romantic interests in the opposite-sex emerge or increase. That’s not a universal experience, of course, but it’s not unusual either.”
Brother’s Road provides workshops, support groups, webinars and group coaching sessions for their members. They are very specific, however, about the fact that they do not provide therapy. This may be in part because in February 2016, the Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Southern Poverty Law Center filed a consumer fraud complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against People Can Change. Brother’s Road was formerly known as People Can Change.
According to the lawsuit, the advertisements and business practices of People Can Change (now Brother’s Road) claiming that they are able to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity constitute deceptive, false, and misleading practices. It also claims that these practices can cause serious harm to consumers. According to the suit, both the claims and the potential harm they cause are in direct violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
Join us next time, as we continue this controversial but important discussion, which affects people all over the world. It is a hard topic to talk about, and people have a tendency to enter into the discussion with their views on the matter already locked in, but none the less, it needs to be addressed.
Until then, if you have been accused of abusing a child, please contact us immediately and talk to one of our experienced child abuse and neglect defense attorneys. Allegations of child abuse are taken very seriously by investigators and prosecutors alike, and if not handled properly, can result in harsh charges and penalties. We can be reached around the clock at 800-576-6035 in case your situation is an emergency, or you need help immediately.