Is it Always Wrong to Try to Convince Children Not to Change Genders?


A prominent Canadian psychiatrist is speaking out against a bill to ban “gay conversion therapy” because, Metro reports, it would also illegalize her practice, in which she provides therapy to young children in an effort to understand or change their desire to switch genders. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has pledged to try to help ban all forms of conversion therapy in states across the US, reports the New York Times.

The Times reports that a senior advisor to President Obama issued a statement in response to a petition, saying, “We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer youth. As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”

In Canada, Susan Bradley is a professor emerita at the University of Toronto, a former head of psychiatry at the Hospital for Sick Children, and a consultant psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, reports Metro. “She rejects the notion that there is a biological or inherent reason in the child for gender identity disorder, or gender dysphoria, and says that those who do believe that have no evidence.”

“If you take that kind of position you could say you have no right to change the child’s feeling of himself of herself, but they don’t have any evidence it’s that way,” Bradley tells Metro. “We’ve done a lot of studies, we’ve looked at these kids up and down and can find no evidence this is an inherent issue. It depends on where you’re coming from in your head.”

Prominent psychiatrist speaks out against conversion therapy legislation (Metro, March 30, 2015)

Obama Calls for End to ‘Conversion’ Therapies for Gay and Transgender Youth (New York Times, April 8, 2015)


  1. I know. We should also re-institute therapy for drapetomania – afterall some people surely don’t want to be free.

    I happen to know people who have been through this “therapy”. It didn’t change their gender and sexual orientation but it surely gave them major psychological issues.

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