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Obama’s statement on banning reparative therapy for youth good first step

Past NASW President Jeane Anastas

Past NASW President Jeane Anastas

President Obama’s April 9 statement supporting state-level bans on so-called reparative or conversation therapy for youth was a good step, past National Association of Social Workers (NASW) President Jeane Anastas said in this column on The Conversation website.

However, the federal government should go further by enacting sweeping protections for people who are LGBT that cover the entire nation, Anastas said.

“Banning harmful mental health treatments is a positive step forward, but providing federal civil rights protections that would cover all 50 states is needed for a society in which LGBTQ people of all ages can flourish,” Anastas, PhD, ACSW, wrote.

NASW has been against sexual orientation change efforts (or SOCE) for 20 years, Anastas said. The practices are ineffective and can damage the mental well being of people who undergo them, she said.

Eighteen states are considering bans that Obama is calling for, Anastas said. However, she worries that if the measures past it could lead to an unequal playing field similar to the legalization of gay marriage, which is legal in some states but not others.

Here is NASW’s statement on reparative or conversation therapies for people who are gay or lesbian. Social workers are also committed to equal treatment for all, considering people from the LGBT community. To learn more visit NASW’s Diversity and Equity website.




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