UNITED KINGDOM, January 18, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Thirteen British medical, psychological and political organizations jointly condemned psychological therapy for gender confusion, calling it “unethical and harmful and not supported by the evidence.”
Critics responded swiftly that the joint statement was itself not only “unkind, cruel and lacking in compassion” but represents the triumph of ideology over solid science.
The statement came in response to a BBC documentary featuring a controversial Canadian psychologist fired for helping youth with gender dysphoria or delusion.
Among the pillars of the British medical/therapeutic establishment endorsing the joint statement are the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the British Psychoanalytic Council and the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, the Scottish government, and the LGBT advocacy group Stonewall.
Unlike some American and Canadian jurisdictions, the UK has passed no law against what the joint statement calls “conversion therapy.” That is defined as “therapy that assumes certain sexual orientations or gender identities are inferior to others, and seeks to change or suppress them on that basis.”
It then states that “Sexual orientations and gender identities are not mental health disorders,” so that any mental issues that arise with homosexuals, transgenders, or others with gender dysphoria must stem from social disapproval, not any inherent mismatch.
“Exclusion, stigma and prejudice may precipitate mental health issues for any person subjected to these abuses,” the statement claims.
It goes on to characterize therapy intended to help a person deal with unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction or gender confusion as itself a form of stigmatization that can only be harmful.
A leading American critic, Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians, called the statement “yet another example of kowtowing to LGBTQ political pressure by professional medical and mental health guilds around the world.”
Countering the statement’s claim that there is no evidence that therapy can help a person overcome same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria, Cretella told LifeSiteNews, “There is no science demonstrating universal harm to anyone who makes the informed choice to pursue the goal of diminishing LGBT attractions under the direction of a licensed mental health professional.”
What’s more, she added, there is no evidence “that gay-affirming therapy leads to optimal physical and mental health outcomes for these individuals.”
If people want to be treated for attractions and feelings that don’t match their biology, she said, they should be allowed to do so. Attempts to make laws or professional codes banning this are infringements on freedom, Cretella argued.
“Patients are barred from trying to maximize their normative heterosexual potential in accordance with their biological sex,” she said.
Cretella insisted that there are “decades of literature documenting that change happens, and the fact that thousands of ex-gays now lead happy and healthy lives.”
She called the term “conversion therapy” misleading. There no special kind of therapy designed to change anyone’s sexual orientation, she said. Furthermore, “psychotherapy to aid those who struggle with LGBTQ attractions does not involve electroshock, ice baths, or other aversion therapy techniques.”
Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust also weighed in against the joint statement, which “accuses therapists who seek to align a person’s mind to his or her birth sex of ‘changing a fundamental aspect’ of who the person is. But in reality, it is those who encourage and reinforce thought-patterns which are at variance with the biological evidence that is staring them in the face who are guilty of changing a fundamental aspect of who the person is.”
Wells went on to condemn the groups behind the joint statement for encouraging not just impressionable children and teenagers to believe what is contrary to objective facts, but society in general.
It is especially “cruel” to promote “the idea to children that a boy can be born into a girl's body and a girl can be born into a boy's body. Respecting and preserving a child's birth sex should be seen as a child protection issue.”
Wells added, “True kindness and compassion involves honestly, gently and patiently seeking to help people who are genuinely confused about their identity to recognise and accept who they really are, not pretending that they are someone that they are not.”
The BBC2 documentary, “Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best,” featured Canadian psychologist Kenneth Zucker. He was fired under intense political pressure from the LGBT lobby in 2015 after two decades at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health helping hundreds of youth overcome gender dysphoria.
Zucker's service was abolished and the Ontario legislature passed a law banning any therapy that would help a youth with gender confusion. Zucker’s and others’ studies indicated that if gender dysphoric or gender-confused youth are not encouraged in their delusion, then 90 percent come to identify with their biological gender by their 20s.
The documentary gives both sides of the debate, but transgender advocates nonetheless worried publicy that parents would be encouraged to seek Zucker’s brand of “reparative” therapy.
Andrea Williams of Christian Concern was also strongly critical of the joint statement, telling LifeSiteNews, “The bodies signing this statement are ignoring plain evidence. … The evidence shows that the strength and direction of erotic attraction and felt gender can and often do change in individuals over time, especially in children.”
Williams also asserted that LGBT advocates were inconsistent in their basic premises — that, on the one hand, “Gender and sexuality [are] ‘fluid’” and on the other, that they are “fixed and innate in individuals, and that any effort to change is harmful.”
Dr. Joseph Berger, a Toronto psychiatrist and retired University of Toronto professor, said the joint statement revealed more about the way radicals take over organizations than it does about what the general memberships truly believe.
“Extremists reach power in these organizations and then coerce the organizations into making statements that are political in nature, but confuse the general public by seeming to be scientific,” Berger told LifeSiteNews. They then “bully” therapists and parents “to prevent any forms of therapeutic help for those troubled by unwanted fantasies.”