It has brought to the notice that California has become the first US state to ban unfounded therapies that attempt to turn gay teenagers straight.”These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery,” said state governor Jerry Brown in a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle.
He signed a bill outlawing the therapies on 29 September. Brown’s conclusions are in line with those reached a few years ago by a task force of psychologists who were commissioned by the American Psychological Association to assess all published research on the therapies. But the group, led by Judith Glassgold, found no evidence that the treatment was effective.”The scientific evidence does not support such therapies,” says Clinton Anderson, director of the APA’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns office.
Notably, “They were not helpful and could be harmful,” says Glassgold, who is based in Washington DC. “Most people became more depressed and anxious, and could become suicidal.””Usually these talk therapies are based on the assumption that homosexuality is a mental illness caused by poor parenting and confused gender roles,” she adds. “They attempt to explain that to the patient, and try to get them to act and behave in a heterosexual manner.”