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Alternative Gay Conversion Therapy – America in the 70s

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Alternative Gay Conversion Therapy – America in the 70s

In the 1970s, alternative gay conversion therapy became a popular solution for men struggling with same-sex attractions or gender confusion. Rather than demonizing gay people, these religiously based groups accepted that individuals could alter their sexual orientation.

However, this practice was not without controversy. Many psychiatrists and psychologists, along with their professional associations, condemned it, contending that homosexuality is an entirely normal variation of human sexuality that should not be classified as a mental disorder or treated with psychological or medical interventions.

Research on conversion therapy has generally revealed an association with negative health outcomes such as depression and suicidal thoughts. A number of studies have used the minority stress model to explain this (APA, 2009a; APA, 2020). This hypothesis proposes that stigma, discrimination or prejudice associated with a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity contributes to their experience of mental disorder or poor physical and emotional health.

One study also discovered that LGBT individuals who had been exposed to conversion therapy during childhood or adolescence were more likely to seek treatment in adulthood than their non-LGBT peers. This may be because the stigmatisation of a minority sexual orientation or gender identity may linger even into adulthood, serving as a trigger factor for people with psychiatric disorders if they had experienced discrimination during their youth.

In certain countries, laws have been passed to prohibit professionals from providing conversion therapy. These can either be indirect bans – prohibiting registered professionals from practicing conversion therapy or disciplinary measures taken against those who break the law or breach professional conduct – or direct bans which make providing conversion therapy illegal.

These restrictions typically target licensed health professionals such as psychiatrists and psychologists, though some also extend to non-professionals like clergy or other leaders in faith communities who provide religious conversion therapy. Bans on conversion therapy have been implemented in Germany, most Canadian provinces and most US states.

In Spain, there are several bans which apply to any form of conversion therapy that does not meet healthcare criteria. This includes counselling and psychotherapy as well as any other intervention aiming to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity without qualifying providers or recipients (ILGA, 2020).

Some bans, such as that in Germany, are very specific and only apply to conversion therapy performed with minors. On the other hand, other bans are more general in scope and apply to any form of conversion therapy not classified as healthcare – like Andalusia, Aragon, Madrid and Valencia in Spain or Edmonton, Canada.

Health professionals and many professional associations strongly oppose using religious or therapeutic techniques to alter someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This practice is seen as unethical and unscientific, leading to poor mental and physical health for clients; moreover, it poses a danger since it could potentially lead to mental illness or suicide.

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- Welcome, SoundTherapy.com lowers anxiety 86%, pain 77%, and boosts memory 11-29%. Click on the brain to sign up or share with buttons below to help others:
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