Identity

End conversion therapy for LGBTI youth: Report

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A new report backed by the Obama Administration has called for an end to "harmful" conversion therapy for LGBTI young people.

The US Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration has released a report calling for an end to the practice of LGBTI conversion therapy for young people.

The 76-page report, titled "Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth", was released Thursday and provides a review of existing research on conversion therapy, also known as "ex-gay" or reparative therapy. 

The report found that same-gender sexual orientation (including identity, behaviour, and attraction) and variations in gender identity and gender expression are a "part of the normal spectrum of human diversity" and "do not constitute a mental disorder".

It also found that there was limited research on conversion therapy efforts among children and adolescents, but that none of the existing research supported the premise that mental or behavioural health interventions can alter gender identity or sexual orientation.

Interventions aimed at a fixed outcome, such as gender conformity or heterosexual orientation, can be "harmful", and should not be part of behavioural health treatment, the report stated.

During a White House Q&A following the release of the report, senior adviser to US President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarret, said the administration continued to support a ban on the practice.

"We support a ban on conversion therapy for minors. New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, California, and [Washington] DC have all passed laws prohibiting conversion therapy for minors. We encourage Congress and the remaining states to do the same," she said.

In April this year, the Obama Administration responded to a petition with more than 120,000 signatures calling for an end to LGBTI conversion therapy by supporting state action rather than a federal ban.

"While a national ban would require congressional action, we are hopeful that the clarity of the evidence combined with the actions taken by [US] states will lead to broader action that this Administration would support," Jarret said at the time.

The American Psychological Associaion has concluded that there is "insufficient evidence" to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation.

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