The Hidden Truth About Changing Sexual OrientationBy Peter Sprigg Senior Fellow for Policy Studies
Eleven states have enacted legislation to prohibit licensed mental health providers from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), sometimes referred to by critics as "conversion therapy.” Most of this "therapy ban” legislation has cited a 2009 Task Force Report by the American Psychological Association (APA) to discredit SOCE. This report downplays the evidence that SOCE are effective and beneficial, and exaggerates the evidence that they are harmful. However, because of its effort to be (or to appear) comprehensive, the task force report actually makes a number of concessions which undermine the argument for legally restricting SOCE. This paper consists of ten key points which weaken the case for therapy bans. Each of these ten points is backed up by evidence cited from sources which support the acceptance of homosexual relationships and identities (and most of them from the APA's Task Force Report itself). Rejection of therapy bans would allow the public and social debate about the merits and limitations of SOCE to continue, while at the same time winning a victory for personal freedom for all—including that small population of people who experience same-sex attractions as unwanted, and the therapists willing to help them achieve their own goals.