Conversion therapy refers to any treatment or psychological therapy aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite being widely discredited by scientific and medical organizations, conversion therapy is still practiced in many parts of the world, including the United States. In this article, we will explore the harmful effects of conversion therapy and why it is important for it to be banned globally.
What is Conversion Therapy?
Conversion therapy, also known as “reparative therapy,” “sexual orientation change efforts,” or “ex-gay therapy,” is a controversial form of therapy that aims to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The therapy is often based on the belief that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is a mental disorder that can and should be cured.
The history of conversion therapy.
The history of conversion therapy dates back to the late 19th century, when homosexuality was considered a mental illness by many medical and psychiatric organizations. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, and many other medical organizations have since followed suit. However, conversion therapy continues to be practiced in many countries, often by religious groups or therapists who believe that being gay, lesbian, or transgender is a choice.
The Harmful Effects of Conversion Therapy
Conversion therapy has been widely discredited by scientific and medical organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the World Health Organization, and the American Medical Association. These organizations have stated that conversion therapy is ineffective and can cause significant harm to the individuals subjected to it. Some of the harmful effects of conversion therapy include:
- Psychological harm Conversion therapy can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and low self-esteem in individuals who are already struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity. The therapy can also cause depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide, particularly in young people who may already be vulnerable.
- Physical harm In some cases, conversion therapy may involve the use of harmful physical techniques, such as electroconvulsive therapy or castration, which can cause permanent physical harm.
- Damage to relationships Conversion therapy can put a strain on an individual’s relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners. The therapy may also lead to the rejection of the individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, which can further damage their relationships.
- Reinforcement of harmful stereotypes Conversion therapy reinforces harmful stereotypes about the LGBTQ+ community, such as the idea that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is a mental disorder that needs to be cured. These stereotypes can cause significant harm to the individuals subjected to them and to the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.
The Fight Against Conversion Therapy There is a growing movement to ban conversion therapy globally. Several countries, including the United Kingdom, Malta, and Germany, have already banned the practice, and several US states, including California, New Jersey, and Oregon, have also banned it.
Conversion therapy is a harmful and discredited practice that has no place in modern society. It causes significant psychological and physical harm to the individuals subjected to it and reinforces harmful stereotypes about the LGBTQ+ community. It is important for governments, medical organizations, and individuals to continue to fight against conversion therapy and to support the LGBTQ+ community in their efforts to ban this harmful practice globally.