The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 1:00 a.m.
In Our View/Sexual Orientation Therapy


Ending an outdated practice

The value of a short legislative session is passing self-evident laws consistent with the public interest. (This is especially true when farsighted goals such as a transportation package fall away.)
Correcting a practice that dates to the 1930s when the American Psychiatric Association still defined homosexuality as a mental disorder, lawmakers are at last looking to prohibit health professionals from performing sexual orientation change efforts on children under 18.
It’s an anachronistic practice straight out of a John Cheever short story, with therapists preying on parents convinced that their gay child can be turned un-gay.
“It’s critical that the Legislature take action to protect young people from practices that are ineffective, inhumane and in some cases — dangerous,” said Sen. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds, sponsor of HB 2451 to end the practice. “Every single medical association that has reviewed these practices has condemned them. We should listen to the experts and protect our kids from harm.”
The bogus orientation-reversal practice is a racket for predatory therapists. More salient than scamming families, the “therapies” damage minors. The effort is not only useless, research confirms, but a threat to the emotional development of children.
It’s for all of these reasons that the Children’s Alliance, the Washington State Psychological Association and the State Society for Clinical Social Work condemn the practice and support Liias’ bill.
“Counseling aimed at changing sexual orientation is based on the notion that same-sex attractions are disordered, inferior to heterosexual orientation, and that lesbian and gay individuals are incapable of leading productive lives and engaging in stable family relationships,” said Dr. Douglas Haldeman, a Clinical Professor of Psychology at the UW in testimony before House Health Care and Wellness Committee.
That counselors still hawk these therapies is difficult to fathom. At the Seattle Repertory Theatre, Samuel D. Hunter’s play “A Great Wilderness” explores the dishonesty of compelling gay teens to change their orientation. Make no mistake: The bill does not affect therapies for gay children who need social or coping support. In an often homophobic world, gay adolescents need all the support they can get.
The Senate companion bill, 6449, co-sponsored by Sens. John McCoy, Steve Hobbs and Liias, is stalled. We hope that Sen. Randi Becker, Health Care Committee Chair, gives the bill a hearing and a vote. It puts children and best practices first. It’s also the right thing to do.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.