Please help us now to stop the State of Utah from passing a rule that would ban legitimate and necessary talk therapy when therapists are counseling with children under 18 who are questioning their gender or sexual orientation.
Sign the attached petition and ask the Licensing Boards to Protect All Teens by rejecting the language proposed by the Board of Psychologists and find new language that protects client self-determination of all teens and their families. https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ask-dopl-to-protect-all-utah-teens
The proposed rule is based on the premise that ordinary ethical conversational therapy that is open to change in sexual attractions or gender perceptions is harmful to minors.
In the 2019 legislative session there was a bill to ban conversion therapy. The question was, what is the definition of conversion therapy? This legislation stated,” Conversion Therapy means:
This proposed language that would have infringe on the rights of parents, children and professional therapists by allowing only gay affirming help with same sex attraction or affirming the gender identity being questioned. A therapist could have validated a homosexual lifestyle but could not suggest other options. Parents looking for help for their questioning child would not have any place to go for help.
THIS BILL DID NOT PASS THE LEGISLATURE. BUT THE UTAH MENTAL HEALTH LICENSING BOARD HAS PROPOSED A CHANGE TO THEIR RULE THAT WOULD BAN CONVERSION THERAPY, INCLUDING TALK THERAPY. THIS RULE CHANGE WILL HAVE THE SAME END EFFECT AS THE LAW THAT WAS REJECTED BY THE LEGISLATURE. THIS IS JUST ANOTHER WAY TO GET AROUND THE LEGISLATURE AND BAN TALK THERAPY FOR QUESTIONING LGBTQ YOUTH.
If this proposed rule is adopted it will have the same effect as the law they tried to pass in the legislature and would violate:
Children struggling with their gender identity or sexuality need to be able to talk to a professional counselor who will give them honest answers to their questions and parents need to be able to trust that these therapists will do what is best for their child and not be controlled by unreasonable and biased laws that violate their constitutional rights.
Your help is needed ASAP. Please do the following 3 things:
From David Pruden:
1. The proposed rule is unnecessarily vague and open to administrative abuse.
For example, what constitutes therapy that is “neutral with respect to the sexual orientation . . . of the individual.” (The question is not whether the therapist is neutral; it is whether the therapy—the “methods, practices, procedures, or techniques”—is neutral.) What constitutes “neutral” therapy most probably will depend on the “worldview” regarding same-sex attractions or sexual orientation held by whoever decides what the term “neutral” means.
Imagine that a psychologist is working with an adolescent who is experiencing gender confusion and is thinking seriously about whether he wants to undergo gender “change” procedures. In the course of their discussions, the psychologist should address with the minor client (and his parents) the emotional and psychological risks and hazards of “gender change” procedures. Further, the psychologist should advise the minor client and his parents that they will need to discuss the medical and physical risks of chemical, hormonal, or surgical “gender change” procedures—which are many and serious, and often with permanent and irreversible effects—with a competent physician. However, such discussions in a therapeutic context may well be regarded as having the “goal” of changing the minor client’s “gender identity.”
Assume a situation in which a 10-year-old male tells his parents that he thinks he really should have been born as a girl, and wants to change his gender. The parents then take the boy to a therapist (who does not take a transgender/gender-change-affirming approach) to help him address his feelings and confusion. Under the proposed rule, addressing the feelings, emotions, or expressions related to the boy’s perceived gender “identity” would put the therapist at risk, because it might result in a change in those feelings, and thus potentially be regarded as having the “goal” of changing the boy’s “gender identity.” To remain safe, the therapist could only “reduce” the young boy’s “internalized stigma,” provide “acceptance [and] support,” facilitate his “active coping, social support, and identity exploration and development,” and assist him in “undergoing gender transition.”
2. The proposed rule threatens a therapist with loss of their license (and their livelihood) if they violate the “sexual orientation change efforts or gender identity change efforts” provision if they are working with any number of common adolescent sexual concerns.
The likely practical result of the proposed rule would be to:
3. The proposed rule is based on the premise that ordinary ethical conversational therapy that is open to change in sexual attractions or gender perceptions is harmful to minors because it does not work and cannot work.
The proposed rule is grounded in a misunderstanding or mischaracterization of what actually does—and does not—happen in counseling by an ethical, competent therapist who uses an approach that is open to change. Ethical and competent therapy does not involve physically aversive techniques (such as electroshocking genitals or inducing vomiting). No licensed therapist in Utah has used such techniques for decades, as the proposed rule’s supporters concede. Nor does ethical and competent therapy involve verbally abusive techniques such as bullying, intimidation, shaming, or humiliation. Contrary to the impression the activists who support the proposed rule want people to have, the proposed rule is not directed either exclusively or even primarily at physically aversive practices.
4. The proposed rule, in its operation, would not be neutral toward religion.
It is based on an implicit hostility to the religious principles of clients (of all religious backgrounds) who seek therapy to address unwanted same-sex attractions or to resolve gender dysphoria, and would make it more difficult for those clients to obtain professional assistance in living according to their faith and religious convictions. The proposed rule further would exert forceful legal pressure on therapists of faith to either provide therapy that is contrary to their religious convictions or to remain silent. The proposed rule could be regarded as neutral only if the State could demonstrate as a matter of scientific fact that same-sex attractions (or gender perception or gender confusion contrary to physiology) are immutable. The proposed rule implicitly presupposes the illegitimacy of religious beliefs that do not accept that proposition, that view same-sex sexual activity as immoral, or that reject transgenderism or gender-change procedures.
Volunteers of Utah Eagle Forum.