A news release from “People Can Change”:
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., — A new White House statement supporting efforts to ban sexual-orientation change therapies for minors “may be well intentioned but is misguided and misinformed,” said People Can Change, an international peer-support organization for men who seek to transition away from unwanted homosexuality.
The White House published its statement Wednesday evening in response to a WhiteHouse.gov petition that was originally posted in January.”A ban on sexual-orientation change therapy for minors would take away a legitimate therapeutic option for minors who seek support in exploring alternatives to unwelcome sexual feelings,” said Rich Wyler, founder and director of the 15-year-old People Can Change organization. “It says to the minor, ‘Sorry, gay-affirming therapy is your only legal option. You don’t get to explore straight-affirming therapy or gender-affirming therapy. You don’t even get to talk to a neutral therapist who will help you explore your options and make a decision for yourself. No, if you have any homosexual attractions, whether you welcome them or not, we’ve decided as a state that gay-affirming therapy is the only option for you.’
“A ban of that type would be unethical,” Wyler said. “It’s the moral equivalent of telling a pregnant teenager, ‘You can have abortion counseling but we’re going to make it illegal for you to receive adoption counseling, or counseling to help you keep the baby, or even neutral counseling to help you decide for yourself.'”
Wyler speaks from first-hand experience, having personally benefited from sexual-orientation change therapy in the 1990s. He went on to establish People Can Change as a non-profit organization in 2000. He co-developed the organization’s three-day “Journey Into Manhood” personal-growth and experiential-healing program in 2002, and since then more than 2,200 men (average age: 36) from 45 states and 35 countries have participated.
“Before I found this kind of therapy, I was so conflicted over unwanted same-sex attractions that I was suicidal and self-destructive,” Wyler said. “Sexual-reorientation therapy saved my life. I was in my 30s; I only wish I’d found this kind of help as a teenager or young adult. It could have saved me years of heartbreak and confusion.”
Wyler added, “Teenagers deserve the right to self-determination over whatever kind of therapy or support they choose to seek on this complicated issue.”
For more information on People Can Change, visit www.peoplecanchange.com. People Can Change is a non-clinical, non-religious, non-profit, peer-support organization based in Virginia, USA. It provides experiential personal-growth weekend programs in the U.S., Europe and Israel. It also supports in-person follow-up groups and events; offers numerous online testimonials and referral resources on its website; provides worldwide group coaching by phone and Web; and facilitates free online networks for discussion and support. People Can Change does not provide therapy. People Can Change defines “change” as any degree of shift toward greater peace, self-esteem and personal fulfilment that is motivated by an individual’s desire to live according to his own deeply held values, morals and life goals.