One of society’s most important functions is to protect children from the exploitation and abuse of predators. This is why Truth Wins Out strongly supports Rep. Jackie Speier’s “Stop Harming Our Kids” (SHOK) resolution. It is critical that unethical charlatans be held accountable for malice in the guise of medicine that often exacts psychological wreckage on young clients and their families.

These pushers and peddlers of guilt and shame have pretended to be experts, when they are just extremists and ideologues taking advantage of desperate and vulnerable people. Every mainstream medical and mental health association in America rejects so-called reparative therapy, including: The American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The American Psychiatric Association says that attempts to change one’s sexual orientation can lead to “anxiety, depression, and self destructive behavior.”

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, LGBT teens who experienced negative feedback from their family were 8 times more likely to have attempted suicide, 6 times as vulnerable to severe depression, and 3 times more likely to use drugs (Caitlin Ryan, San Francisco State University, June 2009). Reparative therapy divides families in the name of family values, which can sometimes lead to the “negative feedback” that causes LGBT youth to harm themselves.

Still, the snake oil salesmen blithely ignore these potent warnings because they are not concerned with the mental health of youth. They ignore facts to peddle fiction and engage in wishful thinking that they cynically refer to as therapy. Homosexuality has not been considered a mental illness for forty years. Yet, these opportunists magically claim that they can heal people who are not sick and fix people who are not broken.

Such therapists mislead ‘patients,’ deliberately misrepresent science, and dangerously play head games that can cause lasting mental scars. They engage in consumer fraud because they offer promises they can’t deliver, while delivering disasters they never promised. America’s youth deserve better than to be pawns in an ignoble effort to profit from the pain of hurting parents who are falsely led to believe these quacks are genuine experts.

As the author of Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth, I have seen the enormous destruction caused by reparative therapists. As the founder of Truth Wins Out, the nation’s primary watchdog of the “ex-gay” industry, I have had to pick up the pieces of shattered families and littered lives. We are extremely grateful that Rep. Speier is working to shield innocent children from unscrupulous practitioners who care more about their wallets than protecting the well being of youth.

Wayne Besen
Founder & Executive Director
Truth Wins Out