The World Psychiatric Association is calling “ex-gay” or “conversation” therapy “unscientific, unethical, ineffective, and harmful” in a statement released today to BuzzFeed News.
The association will release a report tomorrow that will declare its opposition “to any attempts to turn LGBT people heterosexual,” in reference to the effectiveness of so-called conversion therapy.
Along with declaring the inefficacy of such therapy, the WPA also called on governments around the world to decrimalize homosexuality: “WPA supports the need to de-criminalise same-sex sexual orientation and behaviour and transgender gender identity, and to recognise LGBT rights to include human, civil, and political rights.”
“There is no sound scientific evidence that innate sexual orientation can be changed,” the WPA wrote in the statement provided to BuzzFeed News.
Many states such as New York, New Jersey, California, Oregon, and Illinois have banned the use of conversion therapy on minors. However, the ban applies only to state-licensed therapists; unlicensed ones, such as the one Cooper attended, retain the religious freedom to continue their practices.
Conversion therapy — which aims to turn LGBT people straight and cisgender — has been denounced as junk science by every major medical and psychological organization in the country. In addition to the state-level bans mentioned above, congressional Democrats earlier this year introduced a bill that asks the Federal Trade Commission to ban all conversion therapy practices (for any age) nationwide, labeling the ineffective, harmful “therapy” as fraud.
The statement from the WPA will be available in full Tuesday, reports BuzzFeed News. The group is the world’s largest association for psychiatrists, representing more than 200,000 of them in over 118 countries. Many of these countries continue to criminalize homosexuality or support the idea of conversion therapy.