Maryland Middle Schools Promoted Harmful “Reparative” Therapy to Students
February 8, 2013 by Maureen McCarty, HRC Associate Director of Digital Media
Seventh-graders across Maryland’s Prince George’s County Public Schools system were being routinely exposed to dangerous "reparative" therapy.
Some health classes began last fall airing the 21-minute video, called Acception, which is packaged as an anti-bullying video. However, the video builds from touting a message of acceptance, to touting “reparative therapy.”
The changeable nature of one’s sexuality -- a widely debunked theory -- is frequently referenced in the video. "If someone wants to live a gay life, I respect that, and if someone wants to change from gay to straight and choose a different path, I respect that too,” says one of the characters.
According to City Paper, PGCPS pulled video this week after the newspaper started asking questions.
In the shocking trailer of the video, the actress explains that her "sexual feelings went away" as she got closer to her family and friends.
Many right-wing religious groups promote the concept that an individual can change his or her sexual orientation, either through prayer or other religious efforts, or through so-called "reparative" or "conversion" therapy.
The limited research on “reparative” or “conversion” therapy has disproven their efficacy, and has indicated that they can be affirmatively harmful.
Beyond studies focused solely on reparative therapy, broader research clearly demonstrates the significant harm that societal prejudice and family rejection has on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, particularly youth. Furthermore, there is significant anecdotal evidence of harm to LGBT people resulting from attempts to change their sexual orientation.
Based on this body of evidence, every major medical and mental health organization in the United States has issued a statement condemning the use of reparative therapy.
The deck is already stacked too high against LGBT youth. Over 90 percent of LGBT youth surveyed in HRC’s groundbreaking report, stated they hear negative messaging about being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. While nearly 70 percent of straight youth describe themselves as happy, the number drops to 37 percent among LGBT young people.
Help to outlaw psychological abuse of LGBT youth. Join HRC in calling on Congress to pass the “Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) resolution.
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