SAN FRANCISCO — California Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday made history by signing a landmark legislation banning psychological therapy aimed at turning gay and lesbian youth straight — often referred to as reparative therapy.

With Brown’s signature, California becomes the first state in the nation to prohibit licensed mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts of any kind for a minor patient, regardless of a parent’s willingness or desire to authorize participation in such programs.

Authored by State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrence), Senate Bill 1172 was co-sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal, and Mental Health America of Northern California, and supported by dozens of organizations.

“Governor Brown today reaffirmed what medical and mental health organizations have made clear: Efforts to change minors’ sexual orientation are not therapy, they are the relics of prejudice and abuse that have inflicted untold harm on young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians,” said Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California board president.


“Governor Brown has sent a powerful message of affirmation and support to LGBT youth and their families,” said Kate Kendall, NCLR Executive Director. “This law will ensure that state-licensed therapists can no longer abuse their power to harm LGBT youth and propagate the dangerous and deadly lie that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder that can be ‘cured.’”

The wording of the California bill also prohibits attempts by therapists to change gender expression in LGBT minors as well as sexual orientation.

Dr Kenneth ("Drop The Barbie") Zucker, chairman of the American Psychiatric Association's Gender Identity Disorder committee for the 2012 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), has built his career and professional reputation by practicing the now-illegal form of conversion therapy on transgender minors. Were his practice in California, it would now be considered criminal activity. This is the man the American Psychiatric Association chose to write its rules on how to treat transgender children and adults. For better or worse, American Psychiatry has wedded a criminal quack, whose practice is illegal in the state of California.

Zucker packed his DSM committee, and another related one which pathologizes cross-dressers as mentally ill, with cronies of his who have spent their lives torturing both gender-variant children and adults seeking transgender medical services.

It is a major legal breakthrough for the LGBT community that a US state has now criminalized Psychiatry's business-as-usual for gender-variant children and youths. Dr Zucker himself has repeatedly denied he practices "gay conversion therapy", assuring the gay community that he merely practices conversion therapy on transsexual children (whom nobody could defend), not on gay children (whom we all care about). No doubt this evasion will be attempted by many homophobic and transphobic therapists who work with gender nonconforming children. There is money to be made from fathers in a panic that their sons will be gay; Zucker and his brethren have been harvesting that financial resource for decades, and the APA has protected them and rewarded them very well.

However, as other states pass similar laws and the Dr Zuckers lose their licenses, their life savings, and their freedom to move about outside prison, we will at last begin to see an end to psychiatrically approved torture of gender nonconforming kids.

The American Psychiatric Association is now stuck with a new edition of DSM firmly mired in repressive attitudes that can only serve to further tarnish the already murky reputation of their profession -- the most ethically challenged of all professions.

Originally posted to atana on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 03:46 PM PDT.

Also republished by California politics and TransAction.


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