I interviewed Olson about the study’s findings:
B.) One’s sexed persona within the context of a social grouping; or,
C.) Both A and B.
[Implicit tests] connect representations of objects, people, concepts, feelings, your own self, goals, motives and behaviors with one another. The strength of each of these connections depends on your past experiences (and also, interestingly, the current context): how often those two objects, say, or that person and that feeling, or that object and a certain behavior have gone together in the past.
American School Counselor Association:
It is not the role of the professional school counselor to attempt to change a student’s sexual orientation/gender identity but instead to provide support to LGBTQ students to promote student achievement and personal well-being. Recognizing that sexual orientation is not an illness and does not require treatment, professional school counselors may provide individual student planning or responsive services to LGBTQ students to promote self-acceptance, deal with social acceptance, understand issues related to coming out, including issues that families may face when a student goes through this process and identify appropriate community resources.American Psychoanalytic Association:
As with any societal prejudice, bias against individuals based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression negatively affects mental health, contributing to an enduring sense of stigma and pervasive self-criticism through the internalization of such prejudice; and psychoanalytic technique does not encompass purposeful attempts to ‘convert,’ ‘repair,’ change or shift an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Such directed efforts are against fundamental principles of psychoanalytic treatment and often result in substantial psychological pain by reinforcing damaging internalized attitudes.American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry:
Clinicians should be aware that there is no evidence that sexual orientation can be altered through therapy, and that attempts to do so may be harmful. There is no empirical evidence adult homosexuality can be prevented if gender nonconforming children are influenced to be more gender conforming. Indeed, there is no medically valid basis for attempting to prevent homosexuality, which is not an illness. On the contrary, such efforts may encourage family rejection and undermine self-esteem, connectedness and caring, important protective factors against suicidal ideation and attempts. Given 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.Coming on the heels of Olson’s study, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, published a report condemning “conversion” or “reparative” therapies. As part of its report, SAMHSA released the following professional consensus on gender identity and gender expression in youth:
Consensus on Efforts to Change Gender Identity
- There is a lack of published research on efforts to change gender identity among children and adolescents; no existing research supports that mental health and behavioral interventions with children and adolescents alter gender identity.
- It is clinically inappropriate for behavioral health professionals to have a prescriptive goal related to gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation for the ultimate developmental outcome of a child’s or adolescent’s gender identity or gender expression.
- Mental health and behavioral interventions aimed at achieving a fixed outcome, such as gender conformity, including those aimed at changing gender identity or gender expression, are coercive, can be harmful, and should not be part of treatment. Directing the child or adolescent to conform to any particular gender expression or identity, or directing parents and guardians to place pressure on the child or adolescent to conform to specific gender expressions and/or identities, is inappropriate and reinforces harmful gender stereotypes.
Importantly, the report goes on to note that non-binary children should be able to embrace emerging non-binary gendered identities. “Transgender identities and diverse gender expressions do not constitute a mental disorder, [and] variations in gender identity and expression are normal aspects of human diversity, and binary definitions of gender may not reflect emerging gender identities.”
The report hits home just how dangerous it is to force trans adolescents into conversion therapy. “Because there is scientific consensus that gender dysphoria in adolescence is unlikely to remit without medical intervention, even those who support gender identity change efforts with pre-pubertal children generally do not attempt such efforts with adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria.” The report notes that there is no proof that conversion therapy works on trans youth, “No research has been published in the peer reviewed literature that demonstrates the efficacy of conversion therapy efforts with gender minority youth, nor any benefits of such interventions to children and their families.”
Even right wingers at this year’s Southern Baptist Conference made the news when they publicly acknowledged that conversion therapy doesn’t work. Even so, the Conference still maintained that being anything other than heteronormatively straight is sinful and that all LGBT people should ritualize repression as part of their faith.