The ex-gay group Voice of the Voiceless (VoV) is trying to convince LGBTQ resource centers at state-funded Virginia universities to promote their harmful, ineffective therapies by accusing them of being “medically inaccurate, discriminatory, and biased” in the counseling they offer. VoV sent two individuals posing as grad students to seek out ex-gay therapy at the University of Virginia, James Madison University, George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Old Dominion University, Christopher Newport University, and the College of William and Mary, all of which avoided providing such resources.
In turn, the Liberty Counsel sent letters to the university presidents urging them to change the policies, urging them to “include all viewpoints.” According to VoV’s Christopher Doyle, not providing ex-gay resources will endanger students’ lives:
DOYLE: State-funded universities are required to provide value-neutral, medically-accurate information to all students in need of guidance. What we uncovered was a deliberate withholding of potentially life-saving information for students who may desire counseling to overcome unwanted homosexual feelings. […]
Not only are these LGBTQ Resource Centers discriminating against those who seek to overcome unwanted homosexual feelings, but they are also failing to provide gay-identified students medically-accurate information that could potentially save their life. The fact that these centers are being funded by state dollars is completely outrageous. Every tax-paying citizen in Virginia should be outraged!
The mission statements for these university LGBTQ resource centers describe goals such as wanting to “enhance the health and wellbeing” and “foster the development” of the LGBT community, promote “equity for all,” and “reduce homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism.” Ex-gay therapy directly violates these missions by reinforcing stigma against homosexuality.
There is nothing medically accurate about ex-gay therapy, nor is there any evidence to suggest it saves anybody’s life. The American Psychological Association concludes that the best way to support the mental health of a person coming to terms with a same-sex orientation is to help that person feel affirmed. Ex-gay therapy is not only ineffective, but harmful, as it depends entirely on self-shaming. Doyle referred to students with “unwanted homosexual feelings,” and his group would rather humor the “unwanted” by denying the “homosexual feelings.” This is a purely subjective approach, one with a bias against homosexuality that universities do not need to humor. They are committing no “viewpoint” violations, but doing what is best to support the LGBT and questioning students who might seek support.