The promotion of an ineffective and harmful practice is more immoral than any religious judgment of LGBTQ people.
via IFTCC’s website

On November 17 the International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice (think if it as NARTH International) released a 2019 Declaration stating that “everyone should have the freedom and right to walk away from sexual experiences and practices they find unfulfilling, and have support to do so.” I do not disagree with that. However, that does not mean that conversion therapy is safe and effective. The available evidence is that it is neither.
According to one Scott Schittl at hate-site LifeSiteNews:

Because of this courageous stance – as well as an approach to their discipline, based on a Judeo-Christian understanding of the body, marriage and the family – the IFTCC has often faced hostility from LGBT activists and governments which have bought into LGBT ideology of fluidity in sexuality.

My gibberish-to-English app has failed me. I do not understand what “bought into LGBT ideology of fluidity in sexuality” refers to or means. Neither gender identity nor sexual orientation are ideologies. They are variants of human sexuality that are well understood by science. Most rational people of all religious stripes accept evidence-based science over faith-based religious dogma but not Mr. Schittl nor any of the folks associated with IFTCC.

The 2019 IFTCC Declaration was just issued last Sunday at their conference hosted in Western Hungary, where hundreds of therapists, doctors, clergy, activists, and interested citizens, from 23 nations, met to discuss the topic, “In Search for Identity as Man and Woman”. The subtitle of the conference was, “How Can We Offer Help to Those Who Struggle?”

I can gather a group of crackpots of similar size and geographic distribution who will swear that the Holocaust never happened or that they have been abducted by aliens from another galaxy. How many people believe in QAnon?

The answer to the rhetorical question they pose is simple: Accept people for who they are and then there is no reason for them to “struggle.”

The Declaration states that the IFTCC objects to, “ongoing discrimination against persons formerly gay-or-transgender-identified, who have, or will in the future seek professional counselling or pastoral help to assist their transition from unwanted behaviors and feelings.”

Because people claiming to be heterosexual and cisgender face an inordinate amount of persecution. Please. Ridicule is not discrimination and is avoidable. When supposedly ex-whatever people promote conversion therapy for religious purposes they are being irresponsible because there is an absence of peer-reviewed research published to a respectable academic journal demonstrating that conversion therapy is either safe or effective.

Just this past September researchers at Harvard Medical School published the results of a study to the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to the research, any attempt to change someone’s gender identity creates a lifetime of adverse mental health consequences. What can the conversion therapy industry offer in contrast? Where is their research?

Conversion therapy was never intended to help anyone. Its promoters have little interest in the well being of sexual minorities. Rather, its intent is to “prove” that sexual orientation and gender identity are choices. Thus sexual minorities are not entitled to nondiscrimination protections.

Others promote the discredited practice to “prove” that conservative religious dogma is correct in regards to sexuality. Ryan T. Anderson writes entire books in an attempt to disparage gender-affirming care. He does so to support the erroneous teachings of the Catholic Church.

Getting back to Mr. Schittl:

Speakers such as Laura Haynes, David Pickup, Robert Vazzo, Timothy Long, Denise Schick, Christl Ruth Vonholdt, Keith Vennum, and Andrea Williams led insightful practical workshops or gave inspiring personal testimonies.

I wouldn’t think that Denise Schick has two nickels to rub together. There seems to be an ample supply of funds from religious groups to support various conversion therapy promotions. You might not be familiar with Timothy Long, a California LMFT and charlatan. Suffice it to say that Long completed both his master of divinity and master of counseling at Covenant Theological Seminary in Missouri.

Laura Haynes is a retired Christian therapist. Pickup, Vazzo and Vennum are conversion therapy practitioners. Pickup and Vazzo are the plaintiffs of choice to challenge pediatric conversion therapy bans. Vennum claims to be a psychiatrist but his board certification is in anesthesiology. Denise Schick is defined by having had a transgender father who was a crappy parent which means that all transgender persons are crappy people — of course.

Christl Ruth Vonholdt is a German physician … and crackpot fundamentalist Christian. According to Wikipedia:

From a psychological standpoint, she regards homosexuality to be a symptom for a deeper underlying dysfunction. She assumes that homosexuality can be caused by deep emotional suffering in early childhood. Based on this assumption she recommends therapy for egodystonic homosexuals. She describes it, in the Catholic journal Communio, as the “development of a mature heterosexual potential”.

In other words, the Church claims that gay people are “objectively disordered” and she is out to prove it so, regardless of the overwhelming evidence-based opposition by medical science.

I believe that Andrea Williams is the leader of a Catholic extremist group in the UK; Christian Concern. Williams is a professional victim of LGBTQ people.

Adding fertilizer to the pile:

The authors of the IFTCC 2019 Declaration gave special attention to this point.

“Consistent attempts by LGBT activists in governments and elsewhere to conflate the fake term ‘conversion therapy’, including electro-shock and morally reprehensible aversion techniques – all administered by the world’s medical fraternities – with standard, predominantly psychodynamic, evidence-based talking-therapy explorations of fluid sexual attractions, is disingenuous,” states the declaration.

Again, my gibberish-to-English app fails to translate “psychodynamic, evidence-based talking-therapy explorations of fluid sexual attractions.” What they are basically saying is that we — I — promote the idea that conversion therapy involves electroshock therapy. It may have in the past but I would never make that claim.

They are claiming that conversion therapy is evidence-based talk therapy. Where is this evidence in published research? Why does conversion therapy have no secular support? “Fluid sexual attractions” is misleading for two reasons:

  1. Fluidity is rarely — if ever — sufficient to turn someone from gay to straight.
  2. Fluidity is like outdoor temperature. It fluctuates but it cannot be influenced.

These people all claim to be victims of the supposed LGBTQ Agenda. Everyone is against them. The simple fact is that being gay or transgender says nothing about someone’s character or morality. They presume otherwise. We are not broken. We are not sick. We don’t need to be fixed and we don’t need to be cured. They not only promote the idea that LGBTQ people can, and need to, be cured but they do so with no substantiation whatsoever that is effective and nontoxic. According to the so-called Declaration:

This is an unacceptable political strategy. It continues to damage those now forced to live with homosexual or transgender identities as professionals are denied the opportunity to support client-choice to leave unwanted homosexual and transgender practices…

Professional conversion therapist is oxymoronic. Call it anything you like other than conversion therapy. It makes no difference. It is still the same practice that every United States medical association considers ineffective and harmful. The promotion of an ineffective and harmful practice is more immoral than any religious judgment of LGBTQ people.

The only thing that damages LGBTQ people is intolerance and discrimination. The bullshit narrative of conversion therapy does damage, not the promotion of the truth with regards to medical science. Truth that is supported by a mountain of research.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.