SCDP Unanimously Supports Stonewall's Resolution to Ban Conversion Therapy!

WHEREAS, the American Psychiatric Association ("APA") published a position statement in December 1998 opposing any psychiatric treatment, including conversion or
reparative therapy, which therapy regime is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or that a patient should change his or her sexual orientation; and

WHEREAS, the APA's Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual
Orientation ("Task Force") concluded that sexual orientation change efforts can pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, including, among other things, suicide, substance abuse, self hatred, confusion, depression, social withdrawal, high-risk sexual
behavior, and a feeling of being dehumanized; and

WHEREAS, following the report issued by the APA Task Force, the APA issued a resolution in 2009 on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and
Change Efforts advising parents, guardians, young people, and their families to avoid sexual orientation change efforts that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and encouraging psychotherapy, social support, and educational services that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increased family and school support, and reduced rejection of sexual minority youth; and

WHEREAS, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published a statement in 2012 in its journal that "[g]iven that there is no evidence that efforts to alter sexual orientation are effective, beneficial or necessary, and the possibility that they carry the risk of significant harm, such interventions are contraindicated"; and

WHEREAS, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association Council of Scientific Affairs, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association Governing Council, the American School Counselor Association, and the American Psychoanalytic Association have each asserted in reports or position statements that efforts to change sexual orientation, including conversion therapy or reparative therapy, are not recommended and may be harmful; and

WHEREAS, the Pan American Health Organization issued a statement in 2012 that "[t]hese supposed conversion therapies constitute a violation of the ethical principles of health care and violate human rights that are protected by international and regional agreements"; and

WHEREAS, a 2015 report of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth” further reiterates based on scientific literature that conversion therapy efforts to change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression is a practice not supported by credible evidence and has been disavowed by behavioral health experts and associations, perpetuates outdated views of gender roles and identifies, negative stereotypes, stating, importantly, that such therapy may put young people at risk of serious harm, and recognizing that, same-gender sexual orientation (including identify, behavior, and attraction) is part of the normal spectrum of human diversity and does not constitute a mental disorder; and

WHEREAS, the American College of Physicians wrote a position paper in 2015 opposing the use of “conversion,” “reorientation,” or “reparative” therapy for the treatment of
LGBT persons, stating that “[a]vailable research does not support the use of reparative therapy as an effective method in the treatment of LGBT persons. Evidence shows that the practice may actually cause emotional or physical harm to LGBT individuals, particularly adolescents or young persons”; and

WHEREAS, at least one federal appeals court found that a prohibition of SOCE does not violate First Amendment rights and noted that the subject ordinance only required mental health providers who wish to engage in practices that seek to change a minor’s sexual orientation either to wait until the minor turns 18 or be subject to professional discipline, leaving mental health providers free to discuss or recommend treatment and to express their views on any topic; and

WHEREAS, the State of Florida has no legislation banning Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCEs) such as Conversion, reorientation, and/or reparative therapy; and

WHEREAS, no jurisdiction in Sarasota County currently prohibits Sexual Orientation Change Efforts such as Conversion, Reorientation, and/or Reparative Therapy; and

WHEREAS, we have seen in recent years, Republican lawmakers introduce legislation introduced to undermine ordinances put in place by local Governments to ban SOCEs on Minors; and

WHEREAS, at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, the Democratic Party adopted a Federal platform to ban Conversion Therapy; and

WHEREAS, the Sarasota County Democratic Party has long known that identifying as LGBTQ+ is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming, and that research has demonstrated sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts such as conversion therapy, reorientation therapy, and reparative therapy, can pose critical health risks to individuals identifying as LGBTQ+; and

WHEREAS, the Sarasota County Democratic Party is committed to ensuring that the LGBTQ+ Community is treated equally under the law and in society.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Sarasota County Democratic Party fully supports the Stonewall Democratic Caucus of Sarasota County in all of Stonewall's efforts to call for the banning of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts such as Conversion Therapy, Reorientation Therapy, and/or Reparative Therapy on minors in Sarasota County; and, fully supports the Stonewall Democratic Caucus of Sarasota County's efforts to petition the State of Florida Democratic Party to ban this practice, and the U.S. Congress, nationally, in this effort.