CHICAGO — Truth Wins Out today commended the city council of Washington, DC, for voting to ban the atrocious practice of “ex-gay” or “reparative” therapy for minors. The bill, introduced by council member Mary M. Cheh, passed unanimously. New Jersey and California have passed similar bans, which have been upheld on appeal. This year, the Supreme Court declined to review a case challenging California’s ban, thus upholding the law.
“Washington, DC’s city council acted wisely to protect their city’s youth from the disastrous consequences of so-called ‘ex-gay’ therapy,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “While it’s remarkable that, in 2014, there are still people out there fighting to preserve a practice that is known to lead to depression and even suicide in patients, it’s comforting to know that the scientific truth about this practice is indeed winning out and leading responsible lawmakers to act in their constituents’ best interests.”
“Ex-gay” therapy is roundly rejected by all major medical and mental health associations, which state that the practice, sometimes known as “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, is ineffective at best, and can cause great harm to patients.
Many who were among the most prominent spokespeople and apologists for the “ex-gay” movement have recanted their views and expressed deep sorrow for the pain their work caused over the years. Alan Chambers, who ran the now defunct Exodus International, admitted that 99.9% of those he encountered in the movement never changed their sexual orientation. John Paulk, who was once the poster boy for the movement, appearing on the cover of Newsweek in 1998 with his then wife, now is living as an openly gay man, and is doing the hard work of apologizing to those who were hurt by his work. Most recently, Yvette Cantu Schneider, who was once held prominent roles on the religious right advocating for reparative therapy, recanted her past work and now speaks out as an advocate for LGBT equality. Indeed, the only public “ex-gays” left seem to be those who are currently making money promulgating the “ex-gay” lifestyle.
“The LGBT youth of Washington, DC, are better off today than they were yesterday,” said Truth Wins Out Associate Director Evan Hurst. “Licensed therapists have a responsibility to ensure that they leave their patients better than they found them, and to abide by the best practices established by their fields. Washington’s people will now be able to protect their kids from having their lives derailed and destroyed by religious extremism disguised as therapy, and that is something to be thankful for this holiday season.”
Truth Wins Out (TWO) is a non-profit organization that works to demolish the very foundation of anti-gay prejudice. Our philosophy is simple: We attack the underpinnings of homophobia by debunking harmful lies, discrediting hateful myths, and countering anti-gay organizations. By chipping away at the underlying ignorance that fuels anti-LGBT attitudes, we can ultimately win our fight for fairness and achieve full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people worldwide.