Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) today introduced the Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) resolution, cosponsored by Congressmen Ted Deutch (D-FL) and David Cicilline (D-RI), to protect young people from the psychological abuse of so-called LGBT conversion practices. The SHOK resolution is the first federal action to end these harmful and discredited sexual orientation change efforts.
At a press conference held earlier today, Speier announced the introduction of the SHOK resolution as well as her work to investigate whether federal funds have been spent on these unethical practices that have been rejected as scientifically invalid by the American Psychiatric Association and other mental health groups for nearly 40 years.
"Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered is not a disease to be cured or a mental illness that requires treatment. Any effort to change sexual orientation is not medicine, it's quackery, and we should not be supporting it with taxpayer dollars," said Congresswoman Speier.
"California led the nation on this issue when Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1172, a law that prohibits state licensed mental health professionals from engaging minors in these harmful and abusive therapies. Governor Brown did the right thing and I am urging all states to consider similar laws," said Speier.
The SHOK resolution encourages each state to take steps to protect minors from efforts that promote or promise to change sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, based on the premise that homosexuality is a mental illness or developmental disorder that can or should be cured.
In addition to introducing the SHOK resolution, Congresswoman Speier is investigating whether or not federal taxpayer funds have been spent on the practice of conversion therapy with minors through Medicaid or TRICARE reimbursements.
"In my cursory investigation, I have found two additional instances of so-called mental health professionals that advertise these services and appear to be eligible for federal dollars. This morning, I sent letters of inquiry to Medicaid and TRICARE to determine if these instances reflect systemic weaknesses that allow federal taxpayer dollars to go to harmful, illegitimate medical services," said Speier.
Congresswoman Speier was joined at the press conference by survivors Sheldon Bruck and Jerry Spencer, Licensed Clinical Social Worker Laura Booker, Christine Sun from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Ashland Johnson from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Brian Moulton from the Human Rights Campaign.