Nate Oyloe (“Not all with same-sex attractions want them,” Feb. 18) condemns proposed legislation that would prohibit licensed mental health providers from applying conversion therapy and prohibit medical assistance coverage for such services. Conversion therapy has no scientific support. Many recipients of conversion therapy have been traumatized by having their identities demonized. What Oyloe dismisses as Hollywood depiction includes an autobiographical documentary.

Oyloe, in contrast, reports feeling supported and assisted in modifying his same-sex attractions and fears the proposed legislation would condemn others who seek similar assistance. This legislation (HF 12; pertains only to health professionals treating minors or vulnerable adults; it does not prohibit pastoral or other lifestyle guidance that adults may seek voluntarily. Sexual attraction and sexual identity exist on a continuum. The American Psychological Association determined in 1973 that homosexuality could not be considered a mental illness or disorder. It is hardly radical to ban health professionals from promulgating “cures” for what is not an illness or excusing the state from paying for what is not a scientifically accepted treatment.

My primary reason for supporting this legislation is the protection of children who may be damaged by reckless, coercive psychological strategies to nullify aspects of their developing identities. As a former mental health practitioner, I am also in support of maintaining sound scientific and ethical standards of practice with which this legislation is consistent.

Ellen Lowery, Falcon Heights

The writer is a retired psychologist.

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