Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Trans health professionals consider gender-reparative therapies to be unethical

This is not a post so much as it is a citation to be referenced in my (and perhaps other people's) future writings on this topic. 

Gender-reparative therapies (sometimes called gender-conversion therapies) typically involve the use of positive and negative reinforcement strategies—e.g., having parents discourage or withhold gender non-conforming expression, toys, play partners, etc., while encouraging gender-normative behaviors—in an attempt to convert transgender or gender non-conforming children into cisgender and gender-normative ones. 

While the practice used to be more common, and while a few researchers (such as Ken Zucker) still advocate for such approaches, the field of trans health as a whole now considers such practices to be both unsuccessful (as it merely coerces children to temporarily hide or repress their gender identities and expressions, which they may assert again at a later age) and unethical (as it often results in a host of negative psychological outcomes, as reviewed in Temple Newhook et al., 2018).

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) has said as much in their most current Standards of Care (SOC) for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People (version 7). A PDF of the SOC7 can be downloaded here. The passage in question can be found on page 175, and it reads as follows:

"Treatment aimed at trying to change a person’s gender identity and expression to become more congruent with sex assigned at birth has been attempted in the past without success (Gelder & Marks, 1969; Greenson, 1964), particularly in the long term (Cohen-Kettenis & Kuiper, 1984; Pauly, 1965). Such treatment is no longer considered ethical."

Here are a few other articles I have written that touch on this subject:

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