APA exposes ‘ex-gay’ myth
TORONTO — The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution Aug. 5 stating that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments. The approval, by APA’s governing Council of Representatives, came at APA’s annual convention, during which a task force presented a report that in part examined the efficacy of so-called “reparative therapy,” or sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).

The “Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts” also advises that parents, guardians, young people and their families avoid sexual orientation treatments that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and instead seek psychotherapy, social support and educational services “that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth.”

“Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation,” said Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, chair of the task force.

ENDA introduced in Senate
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Aug. 5, Senators Jeff Merkley (OR-D), Susan Collins (ME-R), Olympia Snowe (ME-R), and Edward Kennedy (MA-D) introduced an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 1584) which would protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination. The bill, which enjoys bipartisan support in Congress, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing federal employment non-discrimination laws.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said, “Our goal with this legislation is clear and simple. Hardworking transgender people deserve the right to go to work without the fear of being arbitrarily fired. We want to apply for a job and be confident that we’ll be evaluated based on our qualifications. Our work should be judged on our skills and our expertise, the same as everyone else. ENDA is simply about basic equality in the workplace and freedom from discrimination.”

An inclusive version of ENDA was reintroduced in the House earlier this summer by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and co-sponsors IIeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jared Polis (D-CO), Michael Castle (R-DE), George Miller (D-CA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), John Conyers (D-MI), Todd Platts (R-PA), Robert Andrews (D-NJ), and Leonard Lance (R-NJ).

Currently, 12 states, the District of Columbia and more than 100 localities have non-discrimination ordinances that protect all LGBT workers, covering nearly 40 percent of Americans. According to numerous surveys, 60 percent of likely voters in America support an inclusive federal employment non-discrimination law. President Obama has identified passing an inclusive ENDA as one of the priorities of his civil rights agenda.

“Workplace protections for LGBT people are urgently needed and long overdue,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell. “The president has said he is ready to sign this bill. All we need now is for the Senate to act.”

Group reveals Prop 8 timetable
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Ending weeks of speculation, LGBT rights group Equality California announced Aug. 12 its intention to hold off on a ballot box challenge to Prop 8 until 2012. EQCA Marriage Director Marc Solomon unveiled the decision in a blog posting on the group’s website.

“[W]e’ve been doing our due diligence, listening to the full breadth and depth of opinions our diverse community has to offer, considering very carefully all sides of the discussion and gingerly crafting our best recommendations. Today we are ready to make our recommendation to the community. For the first time, we have the opportunity to choose the best time to go back to the ballot, and we strongly think 2012 is the way to go.”

In the blog’s comments section the reception to the decision was decidedly mixed. Some agreed with EQCA’s main assertion that more time is needed to build the voter coalitions they claim is critical for success. However, another sizable faction was angered by the move, which they deemed a capitulation, and vowed to continue working toward a 2010 re-vote.

Trans candidate in historic bid

Dr. Dana Beyer hopes to make electoral history.
Dr. Dana Beyer hopes to make electoral history.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the only national group dedicated to growing the number of openly LGBT elected officials at all levels of government, recently endorsed 11 more candidates for public office. The news was most notable for the inclusion of Dr. Dana Beyer, whose 2010 election would make her the first openly transgender state legislator in U.S. history.

In her bid to represent Maryland’s 18th district in the state’s House of Delegates, Beyer plans to serve as a powerful voice for the marginalized and vulnerable, including the LGBT community. Her experience in fighting for LGBT equality is extensive. She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Center for Transgender Equality, HRC’s Board of Governors, and Equality Maryland. She also helped found Basic Rights Montgomery, which successfully fought against an attempt to overturn Montgomery County’s transgender anti-discrimination law.

“People should vote for me because they want someone looking out for them, not just taking orders from the antiquated leadership,” Beyer said. “We need a new approach to very serious economic difficulties if we are to reset our economy and move forward, building a better world for all.”

The Victory Fund has made a tremendous impact on America’s political landscape and the LGBT community since its inception in 1991. Today, more than 440 out officials are serving in elective office across the U.S, up from just 49 less than two decades ago.

David Stout

David Stout is the associate editor of QNotes. He can be reached at editor2@goqnotes.com.