APRIL 9, 2015
UNITED STATES – We, as former leaders and founders of conversion/ex-gay therapy, stand with President Obama and call for an end to the scientifically discredited practice of “conversion therapy,” also known as reparative therapy, ex-gay treatments and sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).
As we stated in our open letter (July, 2014), we represent more than 50 years of experience and can attest to the emotional and spiritual damage caused to men, women, children and their families. Now with more than 40 years of research, nearly every major medical, mental and social health organization affirms that conversion therapy does not work. It has, in fact, proven to be potentially harmful.
Unfortunately, the issues of sexuality and gender are used as divisive weapons between political parties, making the human lives of LGBT people fodder for debate and leverage for control and power. In the crosshairs, lie young victims whose potential straddles perceived religious freedoms and real life dilemmas. We can do better than this.
Banning reparative therapy for minors from licensed clinical mental health professionals assures young people can find solace and solidarity in the scientific community, while holding mental health workers accountable. It does not limit them, or their parents, from seeking spiritual advice from clergy. It does however, send a clear message that the practice of sexual orientation change efforts does not work, and should alert and alarm guardians of its potentially dangerous, or even deadly, effects.
As one would never send a patient to a doctor to perform unethical, unnecessary, and outdated medicine, it is time to hold mental health practitioners to similar standards. We welcome President Obama’s statement and stand with him in opposition to reparative therapy for minors, and call on everyone, regardless of political affiliation, to stand with us and put an end, once and for all, to this practice.
Lay Leader Volunteer (2005-2007)
Church Network Coordinator (2007)
Founder, Director, Counselor
Paraklete Ministries (1985 to 1992)
Exodus International (1976-1979)
Project Coordinator (2000-2003)
Women’s Ministry Director (2005-2007)
Courage UK (1988 – 2000)
Exodus Europe (1988 – 1999)
Love in Action Leadership Team (1989-1993)
Public Relations Director, Portland Fellowship (1996-98)
Founder-Director, Love Won Out (1998-2003)
Exodus International Board of Directors (1998-2003)
Founder, Executive Director
Coming Back (1986-1988)
Love in Action (1991-1996)
Yvette Cantu Schneider
Executive Director (2001-2005) Living in Victory Ministry
Director of Women’s Ministry, Exodus International (2008-2011)
Policy analyst, Family Research Council (1998-2011)
John J. Smid
Executive Director, Love In Action (1987-2008)
Exodus International Board of Directors (1990-1995; 2002-2008)
Executive Director, Living Hope Ministries (1999 to 2002)
Staff member, Executive Vice President, Exodus International (2002-2013)
Michael D. Watt
Drop-in Support Group Coordinator, Love in Action (2005-2006)
Love in Action Board Member (2006-2008)
Manager of Exodus Books
Exodus International (2006-2008)
This Press Release first appeared on The Good Men Project