GLAAD released an Eye on the Media today asking journalists to be especially mindful when reporting on supposed notions of “ex-gay” therapy.
The media release includes information from the largest and most respectable scientific and medical organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other authorities who have all dismissed the suggestion that being gay is something that needs to be treated. They all agree that, in fact, trying to “treat” an LGBT person or change their identity through counseling or therapy can cause serious harm to both the individual and their parents. Credible social science research discredits this type of therapy as a healthy practice, and there are no studies that support it. Therefore, framing it as a potential option is irresponsible journalism.
The release also reminds journalists that it is irresponsible to paint “the church” as overwhelmingly anti-LGBT in discussions of issues like “ex-gay” therapy. 75% of Americans identify as Christian, and more than half of Americans support laws to protect LGBT people from discrimination. 72% of Americans ages 18-29 support gay and lesbian relationships, and increasing numbers of people support marriage equality. Mainline Christian denominations such as the United Church of Christ, The Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (USA) all have policies that support LGBT people.
The Eye on the Media is a resource that helps journalists ensure careful coverage of various topics related to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities and their allies. GLAAD regularly posts these and other media releases and resources on the press section of its website. We urge journalists to use this information and share it in order to promote fair, accurate, and inclusive coverage of LGBT people and issues.