Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

What the White House's Opposition to “Conversion Therapy” Means

From Web Exclusives

In early April, the Obama administration responded to an online petition calling for a “Leelah’s Law” that would ban “conversion” therapies. The petition, launched in response to the suicide of a child born a boy and given the name Joshua Ryan Alcorn who felt himself to be a girl and called himself Leelah, conflated therapeutic practices aimed at treating gender dysphoria and those aimed at sexual orientation change. In response to the petition, the White House added its voice to a growing chorus of opposition to such therapies while doing little to clarify the petition’s confusion: “We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer youth,” wrote Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama. “As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.” Continue Reading »

Honest Sex Science

From the October 2012 Print Edition

Some people can change their sexual orientation with the help of therapy. So said Robert Spitzer—“considered by some to be the father of modern psychiatry,” in the New York Times’ description—in his (in)famous 2003 study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, appropriately . . . . Continue Reading »