Update to SB1172 and SOCE in California by Jim Walker, LMFT

September 10, 2012 3:09 PM | Admin EBCAMFT
CAMFT and California Senate Bill 1172 (Risks of SOCE)

EB CAMFT was the first CAMFT chapter supporting SB 1172. This historic bill could be the first in the nation that would ban sexual orientation change efforts--SOCE--for minors. Other terms for SOCE are "reparative therapy," "ex-gay therapy" or "conversion therapy."

SB 1172 passed the legislature in August and is now waiting for the Governor's signature.

The bill is needed to protect queer and questioning youth from approaches that claim to reduce or stop the development of their same-gender erotic attractions, behaviors and identities. Years ago the major national psychological organizations affirmed how risky and unhealthy SOCE is, yet the damaging practices have not stopped.

The bill is needed because decades of trying to affirm being LGBTQ or questioning has not stopped the psychological damage from a small group of practitioners of "reparative" methods. Survivors of receiving "ex-gay" practices when they were teens report having lasting psychological damage from what was done to them as youth.

The state board of CAMFT has opposed Senate Bill 1172. While they were working with a coalition of organizations to change the bill, EB CAMFT, SF CAMFT and LA CAMFT became supporters, along with AAMFT of California, NASW of California and many other organizations.

CAMFT was in a coalition with other organizations opposing the bill until mid-August when the California Psychological Association broke with the coalition and moved to supporting the bill. Santa Clara Valley CAMFT followed them in becoming supporters. The California Latino Psychological Association recently also became a supporter along with many other organizations.

This photo shows therapists from Gaylesta, the LGBTQ Psychotherapy Association of the SF Bay Area, with staff from Equality California, delivering petitions for SB 1172 to Governor Brown's office. Over 50,000 signatures supporting SB 1172 were collected from around California and outside the state. Equality California is a sponsor of the bill and works with the legislature to further LGBTQ rights and improve queer health through legislation.

The BBS is a supporter of SB 1172.

The Pan American Health Organization, recently called for national legislation against SOCE. "These practices are unjustifiable and should be denounced and subject to sanctions and penalties under national legislation," said Dr. Roses, director of PAHO. Dr. Roses went on to say, "These supposed conversion therapies constitute a violation of the ethical principles of health care and violate human rights that are protected by international and regional agreements. http://www.dayagainsthomophobia.org/Media-Release-World-Health,1557.

There will certainly be more news about SB 1172 soon. Please sign Gaylesta's petition and distribute it freely. You can also call the Governor's office and express your support as a licensed, or prelicensed, mental health provider: 916-445-2841.

Gaylesta's petition is at:  http://www.change.org/petitions/protect-youth-from-being-forced-into-ex-gay-therapy-sb1172

A bill similar to SB 1172 is expected to be introduced to the New Jersey legislature before the end of September 2012.
Jim Walker, MFT
510-684-4508  cell

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