Good Conversion Therapy Vs. Bad Conversion Therapy

Jamie Shupe: gender conversion therapy didn’t work out so well.

We live in truly crazy times. Consider: Virginia’s Board of Psychology is reportedly days away from adopting a guidance document that would ban conversion therapy on minors. By “conversion therapy,” the board means the practice of trying to convert a person’s sexual orientation from gay to heterosexual.

In accordance with best practices established by professional organizations, reports The Virginia Mercury, practicing sexual-orientation conversion therapy on minors “could result in a finding of misconduct and disciplinary action.”

But a different kind of “conversion therapy” is increasingly OK among U.S. psychologists: changing the gender — not merely the sexual orientation, but the physical manifestations of sex — of minors through hormonal treatments and surgery. 

Elaine, the mother of a child born biologically female began identifying as a male, tells of her experience in the Daily Signal:

The current standard of treatment promoted by medical and psychological associations is called “affirmative care.” While this sounds nice, affirmative care leads directly to putting children on the path to medical transition with little chance of turning back.

If you take your child to a clinic to seek help, affirmative care means the therapist must follow the child’s lead. The professionals must accept a child’s professed gender identity. In fact, this is the law in many states. …

So, if a little boy is 5 years old and believes he is the opposite sex, affirmative care means going along with his beliefs.

Parents are encouraged to refer to him as their “daughter” and let him choose a feminine name. Teachers are told to let him use the girls’ bathroom at school. Therapists will reassure parents that social transition is harmless and reversible. …

If a 10-year-old girl is uncomfortable with her developing body and suddenly insists she is a boy, affirmative care means blocking this girl’s puberty with powerful drugs.

Doctors will tell parents this is a perfectly safe and reversible way for her to explore her gender. Affirmative care does not help this child get to the cause of her discomfort.

Medicating her with these drugs is not safe. In fact, her future fertility, sexual functioning, and bone development may be negatively impacted.

Once the teenage years begin, affirmative care means giving young people cross-sex hormones. Girls as young as 12 are prescribed testosterone for lifetime usage, while boys are given estrogen. …

For girls, one standard procedure is called “gender-affirming top surgery,” also known as a double mastectomy. They are performed on girls as young as 13 years old—otherwise healthy girls who believe they are transgender. …

There are also teenage girls undergoing radical hysterectomies in the name of gender identity.

The results of gender-conversion therapy can be devastating. Jamie Shupe, who was sexually abused as a boy, decided during a severe mental health crisis that he was a woman. He took estrogen treatments and considered radical surgery. Then one day, he looked in the mirror and realized he had been kidding himself. “Despite having taken or been injected with every hormone and antiandrogen concoction in the VA’s medical arsenal, I didn’t look anything like a female,” he wrote in the Daily Signal. He then garnered favorable media attention when he applied to an Oregon judge to be declared “binary.”

At the end of his torturous journey, he concluded, “I do not have any disorders of sexual development. All of my sexual confusion was in my head. I should have been treated. Instead, at every step, doctors, judges, and advocacy groups indulged my fiction.”

Unlike homosexuality, which is a phenomenon known in all human societies throughout history and is observable even in animals, gender confusion is almost entirely an artifact of the modern age. (I say “almost” because hermaphroditism is a real though rare thing. But most transgenders are not hermaphrodites.) In America and other Western democracies today, the gender-confusion phenomenon is an intellectual fashion and a sociological phenomenon. We live in uprooted times. Rapid technological change, especially the rise of social media, is shredding the traditional way in which people interact. More people than ever are feeling lonely and disconnected, and more than ever suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. Meanwhile, traditional norms are under ideological assault. The transgender fad, I believe, arises from this turmoil.

As far as I know, the Virginia Board of Psychology has not issued any pronunciamentos on transgenderism, but peer boards in other states have. While sexual-orientation conversion therapy might be bad idea, if it fails, at least the psychological damage can be undone. But when gender conversion therapy goes bad, the effects of hormone treatments and surgery can be irreversible. Yet the psychology profession considers the former to be bad and the latter to be good. When ideology trumps biology, we truly live in crazy times.

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36 responses to “Good Conversion Therapy Vs. Bad Conversion Therapy

  1. Point.

  2. I’m extremely puzzled. A mother can decide to let her newborn child to die just as she can have it aborted anytime prior to, and during delivery. Ask Governor Mengele. But a parent cannot decide what type of treatment, if any, he/she/they want for their minor child who is experiencing issues of gender confusion. How the Hell does that fit with constitutional law?

    I suspect a parent can decide to get counseling for a 12-year-old who is distressed about their size or physical appearance. Say a child who is exceptionally tall or short for her/his age or has a physical attribute that has led to teasing. The counseling would likely affirm the child’s self image as is. But if the child has feelings that perhaps she/he was born the wrong sex, a parent cannot get the child counseling that helps the child understand and, perhaps, accept the status quo, at least until she/he is an adult.

    The proposed rule is not content neutral. It favors one choice – change irrespective of the underlying mental status of the child. It presumes that every child’s confusion about gender must be resolved by affirming gender change. Should the government be involved in that type of decision-making? Should the state insert itself into a family situation? And how does that fit with the Constitutional right of privacy?

    • TooManyTaxes:

      You must stop asking all these questions right now. These questions of yours confuse children. These questions of yours make children very uncomfortable. Not only that, these questions of yours make people in the sex change culture and/or business very uncomfortable, and downright angry too. Only children can know what is right for them, and their own minds and bodies, at any moment in their lives, as assisted by “experts” in the business.

      So just the hell up, TooManyTaxes. Your questions violate the rights of others.

      • Reed,

        Later today, I will be hearing a presentation on Title IX from the SAVE organization. Reviewing the materials in preparation for same, I see you are a signatory to a letter for Due Process in Campus Disciplinary Proceedings. In the company of Alan Dershowitz, no less. You dirty dog, you. How dare you stand up for due process. Somebody lied to you. You didn’t get the memo that you’re supposed to believe the women without regard to what the man has to say.

  3. so…….. what should we do instead?

  4. Pingback: Media Articles About James Shupe (Formerly Jamie Shupe) – Website Of James Shupe (Formerly Jamie Shupe)

  5. Subject to child welfare laws, keep the government’s nose out of family decisions about their children. This is not an issue of public health as is vaccinations. It’s about parents making their best decision about a very complicated situation where a minor child is confused about its gender or where the child think its confused. A decision about one family may not fit another family.

    Children are not capable of making many key decisions at an early age. That’s why we don’t hold them fully responsible for all of their actions. We generally handle juvenile crime outside the adult criminal court. We’ve abolished the death penalty for juveniles. We don’t allow mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles. We don’t let juveniles purchase guns or vote or drink liquor or smoke dope where it’s otherwise legal. Yet a state agency wants to allow a juvenile to make life-lasting decisions about gender change without parental involvement.

    I’m not arguing that no one has gender issues or that they should not be respected. Years ago, I represented a gay-operated business when I was told other lawyers wouldn’t do it. But a child or a teenager is not capable of making all the decisions in this area sans parents. And its trendy to say a person can pick its own gender.

    And just as we have judicial overrides for many restrictions on juveniles, we can have one here. If the parents’ actions are truly damaging to the juvenile, a court can appoint a guardian. But until then, keep the government’s nose out of family business.

    • A little bit of chicken/egg with the govt being involved. I a child is being subjected to “conversion therapy”and doesn’t want it and reports it – does the govt then get involved?

      When I was growing up – I became aware that some guys acted like gals and some gals like guys and they would sometimes couple up with another who played the opposite role. I had heard of “conversion therapy” for gay guys… and it was a big deal for someone to “come out” (of the closet). In fact, if you were gay but not “open” – you’d fail a security clearance investigation (because you could be blackmailed).

      Kids have committed suicide over this.

      There’s a lot of gray here.

      Beyond Vaccinations – there is medical treatments that will save lives that some parents won’t agree to for their kids and the govt gets involved.

      If a kid goes to school and the teacher or counselor hears them say a family member “touched” them in a place the kid felt uncomfortable about – it’s reported.

      All this transgender stuff has exploded. All these years these kids who identified with the opposite gender had to go to the “wrong” restroom. Who knew?

  6. “In America and other Western democracies today, the gender-confusion phenomenon is an intellectual fashion and a sociological phenomenon.”

    Is there any study, any data, any report that can back up this claim?

    • Jim Loving

      There are a ton of studies to back up Jim statement. Indeed, in some areas, and groups, these fashions extend into far more than fads, but hysteria today, particularly among groups of young girls.

      And, although it is true that adolescence is a time of some gender confusion among a certain percentage of those experiencing it at any given time, the great majority of those involved ultimately swing resolutely back over into the biological orientation of their bodies at birth. There are also growing claims by scholars in the field of the proliferation of bogus junk science going on over what now has become primarily a political battle, blind to sound science and medicine. A good discussion of some of these issues can be found at:

      • Also, if you go into The Federalists website archive, you will find a long list of articles on this topic, backed up by research. Same with and numerous other websites.

  7. Today must be the day that Jim got infected with the Irony Bug. Hopefully, it’s a long term affliction. I’d like to see an article on the many contradictions that are now heaped upon our society. Example: Cosmopolitan says to its target female audience of young girls, “You should experiment with all kinds of sex” But when those same young girls go ahead and do so at our universities, some sage in the administration explains how they’ve been violated and should file a Title IX complaint

    • I’m sort of a live and let live guy. Some of this seems not that.

      • So, Larry, are you “live and let live” with respect to parents making decisions about their minor children or bureaucrats deciding that parents cannot make decisions about their minor children?

      • @TMT – I’m live and let live with regard to choices people make about what gender they think they are.

        I’m somewhat divided on the issues of parents and kids except to note there are already many circumstances where the govt will step in on behalf of the CHILD – who also has rights.

        Children are NOT “property”. They are living human beings with rights of their own and it is the govt responsibility to protect and preserve those rights also.

  8. Dear Jim,

    The reason for the difference is simple: The Liberals love the unnatural and the anti-natural. One “therapy” destabilizes the given, the natural, and is therefore “good,” while the other tries to bring the person back to the natural, and is therefore “bad.” As my Mother said so long ago about the Liberals, “What’s wrong is right and what’s right is wrong!” Herbert Marcuse of the Frankfurt School of Cultural Marxism said what he wanted: “Polymorphous perversity.”



    • Andrew – I believe friends ought hug one another, and kiss one another on the cheek. Is that a perversion, Andrew? And where do we draw the lines, as to who is kissable and who is hug-able? Who are friends, who are among we can love, and touch? Need we apply to a court, or risk court sanction, if we do not?

      • Dear Reed,

        I said or meant nothing to imply that these things you cite are perversions. Of course they’re not. I merely addressed the reason why one conversion is okay by Liberals and the other not. I’m puzzled by your question.



        • Andrew, I’m not critical of your comment. I agree with it.

          I was only noting how Liberals, Bernie Sanders, for example, now find it necessary that they, as political operatives, regulate hugging and kissing among their “subjects.” Their compulsion to control others knows no bounds. Hence, they will turn on one another, even long before they’ve finished with us. This we are seeing right now with Uncle Joe.

          Of course, this has been going on since the Russian Revolution of the early 20th century. And as early as the French Revolution at the end of the 18th Century.

          • Andrew Roesell

            Gotcha, Reed. Thanks for clarifying. I thought to myself, “say, whaaaa…?” ;-))<

            The Left has a mania for dominating others. They just can't mind their own business. Miserable folk.



  9. I celebrate gay rights including gay marriage and the ability to adopt children. I also believe most gays are born gay. And yes I know transgender isn’t gay, I only use the comparison to say I so believe some people are born with different preferences and support the legal right to be free. But when it come to conversion I am in no man’s land. I agree there may be a level of some abuse in some cases.
    But, like Too Many Taxes, I don’t see how this works with other rights afforded to citizens and specifically parents. An outright ban is wild. Medical providers already have boards to determine ethics. Our legislators and judges are playing on some slippery slopes.
    Personally I can’t wait to go to the Senior Olympics and win a slew of women’s gold medals and set some records, just to prove a point. Unless another guy beats me to it.

  10. Most of the comments here go beyond what the Board of Psychology is considering. It is saying that a psychologist cannot, in his/her role as a psychologist try to force a person, including a child, to deny his/her feelings concerning sexual orientation or identity. What the psychologist can do is engage in counseling that “facilitates a person’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development.” That does not necessarily mean that the psychologist “must accept a child’s professed gender identity.” A good psychologist would accept that the feelings were real for the child, but then help the child explore whether those feelings were legitimate or a manifestation of something else that was going on, without making that child feel somehow that he/she was bad.
    There is nothing in the proposed regulation about parents being required to allow their children to be administered powerful drugs or have surgery. I would be surprised that there is any law in any state (government sticking its nose in) that would require that.
    I cannot identify with someone being that uncomfortable with his/her gender. But, I have read enough accounts of people having gone through gender change, who were extremely unhappy before the change and are entirely comfortable after the change, to believe that it is real. In fact, in my extended family, one who was once a girl is now a young man, having undergone a double mastectomy, and is very happy with himself now. (I still have a hard time referring to this person as “he”.)
    I agree with most of the posters that powerful hormonal treatments and surgeries should not be administered to young children or even teenagers, except in cases in which there is serious psychiatric trauma over a person’s gender identity. And, in the end, parents have that decision–the state cannot compel them. The member of my family who underwent surgery to effect his gender change did not do so until he was out of college. At that point, he was sure of his gender identify.

    • Good and reasonable comment, Dick!

      ” I cannot identify with someone being that uncomfortable with his/her gender. But, I have read enough accounts of people having gone through gender change, who were extremely unhappy before the change and are entirely comfortable after the change, to believe that it is real. ”

      Same here – and in many of those cases – those folks who did go forward with changes say they knew in their childhood that they were “different”.

      That’s NOT sufficient reason to take that decision from parents but it does bring the question of – if the parents KNOW ….AND they want to engage in conversion therapy – then are we so sure that it’s the parents “right” to do something to their child that, now, many feel is wrong?

      These are tough issues and part of our problem these days is that some who feel quite strongly about it – WANT to make it a political issue against almost ANY circumstances where the govt would intervene.

      At that point – the issue is ripe for misinformation and demagoguery.

    • “That does not necessarily mean that the psychologist “must accept a child’s professed gender identity.”

      I would suggest that it should never be the roll of a psychologist to either accept or reject the child’s professed gender identity, much less “feel bad” about the child’s professed identity. ” Psychologists are not almighty gods. One problems today is that increasingly some psychologists apparently think they are gods, and they increasingly act accordingly for a healthy payment of money into their pockets. This is akin to they expert medical expert witnesses that will testify in court to whatever the case of their client requires so long as the fee is right. But here, young lives are being ruined. For there is a good deal of literature out there, and its growing, that cast grave doubts on efficacy of irrevocable treatments of children, on the proposition that that:

      “But, I have read enough accounts of people having gone through gender change, who were extremely unhappy before the change and are entirely comfortable after the change, to believe that it is real.”

      Perhaps in some cases that it true. But you will find a number of articles archived in The Federalists that suggest that in a majority of cases, these decisions prove wrong over time, and end up trapping people who then cannot reverse them, and thus do great irrevocable harm to patients. The idea that children should be able to make these decisions is highly problematic.

  11. On “conversion”of kids.

    When it comes to medical treatment – it cuts both ways for kids.

    On one hand, if a parent denies medical care to a child – for whatever reason – religious or otherwise – govt steps in.

    On the other hand, if a parents subjects a child to medical treatment that is deemed harmful to the child – the govt also steps in.

    So, for example, we see some folks who say their religion requires their kids to have their genitalia physically altered. They say it’s “required” and the govt says if they do it – they’ll go to jail.

    So is the govt “wrong” to do this?

    second question – would you feel any different about such “treatment” if it were physical – or mental?

    see..not so easy, eh?

    OR you can just blame this whole thing on “liberals”…the easy way out for the willfully ignorant…. life is much simpler for them.

  12. What isn’t mentioned is that part of the reasoning for the ban is to prevent overly zealous religious types from trying to bully others into accepting their views on homosexuality.

    • Dear Peter,

      It almost sounds like this argument is “bully unto others before they bully unto you,” i.e. pre-emptive bullying. I think the real reason is that they say that they are, using a then current computer metaphor, “hard-wired”, unlike the 1970s when it was billed as an “alternative lifestyle,” which fit in with the rhetoric of that day. They figure if they can argue that they are hard-wired, any therapy would be to no avail, and everyone’s sympathy would be with them, and they would be immune to criticism. It is my impression that the Left / homosexual activists / “scientists” have committed a fair amount of fraud to claim that “science says” supports their claims.



  13. Statutes and courts have intervened in situations where parents have not allowed their children to get medical treatment, even in cases where the refusal stems from religious beliefs. For example, courts have intervened when parents who are practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to allow their child to receive a medically necessary blood transfusion. And I suppose there is an unreported court case where a parent was prevented from having a child injected with bleach to cleanse the child’s system from foreign bodies but which would in fact likely kill the child.

    But it’s a big leap from there to say the state has an interest in preventing some, but not all, psychological and/or psychiatric treatment from being given to a child at the request of the child’s parents. There is no principle of law that can reasonably distinguish one type of treatment from another beyond a belief that gender selection should be an unfettered right and that anyone questioning that right must be stopped.

    And following this logic to its end reaches absurd results. I’ve read where some argue a person ought to be able to select his or her age without restriction. So a 30 year old can tell the feds that he is really 66 and eligible for Social Security. Or a 15-year-old girl can say her choice of age is 25 and thus, sex with a 30-year-old predator is OK and the statutory rape law is inapplicable. Why can’t the teenager override her parents? I bet most courts would jump in and reject an argument that the teenager can block her parents from pressing statutory rape charges.

    Now this is not to say that, in the appropriate situation, a mature juvenile cannot seek outside help, including the courts, to intervene and stop the treatment. With the right set of facts, it should be perfectly reasonable for a court to grant the juvenile’s request to stop “conversion” or “gender acceptance” therapy. But this too is a big leap from the state declaring that certain types of otherwise reasonable therapy cannot be given to a minor at the direction of her or his parents.

    Do we want to live in a country that has the rule of law or allow some people to create or destroy rights based on their individual views?

    • Dear TMT,

      “Do we want to live in a country that…or…” The Liberals won’t give us a conventional choice. Each day they grow more determined to impose their wills upon us, however they can (Court, Congress, or Executive Order the next time they have the Presidency, or the refusal to enforce laws they don’t like.) The Constitution means nothing to them, except for “creative” or selective uses against us. They don’t seem to have the desire to “live and let live.” Their attitude toward us is, “resistance is futile!” Well, maybe, or maybe not.



  14. re: ” Do we want to live in a country that has the rule of law or allow some people to create or destroy rights based on their individual views?”

    Aren’t you, in effect, saying that the govt decides not individuals?

    Isn’t that what “rule of law” is?

    If a child disagrees with his parents – can he/she appeal to the govt?

    Who decides what “rights” the parents have with respect to their kids and which are not their right but instead the govt right to decide ?

    Isn’t rule of law a set of govt rules?

    • The United States Supreme Court has held that “the interest of parents in their relationship with their children is sufficiently fundamental to come within the finite class of liberty interests protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.” M.L.B. v. S.L.J., 519 U.S. 102, 119 (1996). I think it would be questionable that any state board or even the General Assembly could prohibit a family from deciding what medical or psychological treatment is appropriate for their minor child. At a bare minimum, the state would seemingly need to give the parents a hearing with the burden of proof on the state probably to demonstrate that it had a compelling interest sufficient to override the parents’ rights to raise their child as they deem appropriate. Such hearing would also need to protect the child’s due process rights. I think a judge or hearing examiner would and should give more credence to the views of the minor based on age and maturity. But the state would and should have a heavy burden before it can substitute its judgment for that of the parents.

      • The threat posed by the State to the parents’ authority over their children is rising by leaps and bounds today. So are state actions against individual citizens growing ever more intrusive into people’s lives and livelihoods.

        See, for example, how the state by its direct actions punish its own citizens as exposed in Steve Haner’s post found at:

      • But in the end – who decides what is in the best interests of the child – or not? Isn’t it the Law and the Courts?

        As far as I know, the Constitution does not differentiate on what “rights” a parent or a child has – both are said to have the “rights” that all have. No?

        So WHERE does the idea that the parents have total control of the child’s “rights”?

        I do not think that idea is formally present in our Constitution but someone correct me if I’m wrong.

  15. Our thoughts are true when they conform to physical reality. The search for truth does not start in the mind, as Descartes and his successors taught, but with what the senses perceive in the physical world. If your mind says that eating arsenic will not kill you, upon eating the arsenic, physical reality will let you know that your thoughts did not conform to reality.

  16. To follow up, look at today’s article at
    People who reject physical reality in favor of their conceived reality are in need of psychological help. Their minds are mistaken. They are mentally ill.

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