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Position on Reparative Therapy

The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) takes the position that having a non-heterosexual sexual orientation, that being transgender and that being gender non-conforming, are not mental disorders. We oppose any “reparative” or conversion therapy that seeks to “change” or “fix” a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. AASECT does not believe that non-heterosexual sexual orientation or being transgender or gender non-conforming is something that needs to be “fixed” or “changed.” 

The rationale behind this position is the following:

  1. Reparative therapy (for minors, in particular) is often forced or non-consensual.
  2. Reparative therapy has been proven harmful to minors.
  3. There is no scientific evidence supporting the success of these interventions.
  4. Reparative therapy is grounded in the idea that non-heterosexual orientation, transgender gender identity and gender non-conforming expressions are "disordered.”
  5. Reparative therapy has been shown to be a negative predictor of psychotherapeutic benefit.  

We define reparative or conversion therapy as:

- services or interventions purporting to “cure” any sexual orientation that is non-heterosexual or gender identity/expression that falls under a transgender umbrella.

- services that seek to change non-heterosexual orientation because of the assumption that homosexuality or bisexuality are mental disorders.

- services that seek to change transgender gender identities/expressions because of the assumption that being transgender is a mental disorder.

Our position is consistent with our professional colleagues, including but not limited to: the American Medical Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American School Counselor Association, the American Mental Health Counselors Association, the American Bar Association, the American College of Physicians and the Canadian Psychological Association.

*Revised 2.9.2017