World Health Organization Denounces Conversion Therapies

In May 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) strongly denounced conversion therapies. Here is part of a statement from one of its regional offices, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO):

PAHO makes a series of recommendations for governments, academic institutions, professional associations, the media, and civil society, including:

  • “Conversion” or “reparative” therapies and the clinics offering them should be denounced and subject to adequate sanctions.
  • Public institutions responsible for training health professionals should include courses on human sexuality and sexual health in their curricula, with a focus on respect for diversity and the elimination of attitudes of pathologization, rejection, and hate toward non-heterosexual persons.
  • Professional associations should disseminate documents and resolutions by national and international institutions and agencies that call for the de-psychopathologization of sexual diversity and the prevention of interventions aimed at changing sexual orientation.
  • In the media, homophobia in any of its manifestations and expressed by any person should be exposed as a public health problem and a threat to human dignity and human rights.
  • Civil society organizations can develop mechanisms of civil vigilance to detect violations of the human rights of non-heterosexual persons and report them to the relevant authorities. They can also help to identify and report people and institutions involved in the administration of “reparative” or “conversion therapies.”

The PAHO’s full statement is available here.

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