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WASHINGTON July 23, 2019 – Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com’s CEO, should resist calls by some members of Congress to resume selling books that promote “conversion therapy” because there is insufficient scientific evidence that such practices are safe, especially for young people facing rejection by their parents, according to the American Psychological Association.
“Amazon.com made a good decision when it stopped selling some books promoting a ‘therapy’ that may actually harm the people it is supposed to help,” said APA President Rosie Phillips Davis, PhD. “So-called reparative therapies aim to ‘fix’ something that is not a mental illness and therefore does not require therapy. We applaud Amazon for its decision to stop selling books that stigmatize homosexuality as a mental illness and claim to be able to change people’s sexual orientation.”
APA has a history of working to educate the public regarding the dearth of scientific evidence to support conversion therapy:
APA adopted a Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts in 2009 advising that parents, guardians, young people and their families avoid sexual orientation treatments that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder. It recommends that they 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.”
A 2009 APA Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Response to Sexual Orientation concluded that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation due to a lack of evidence that such change is possible and the potential for such efforts to harm the patient’s mental health.
And APA filed an amicus brief in June in the case of Otto v. City of Boca Raton, Florida, which involves a challenge to laws in Boca Raton and Palm Beach, Florida, banning mental health providers from engaging in conversion therapy with minor patients.
Earlier this month, Amazon stopped selling certain books that promote so-called conversion therapy because they violate Amazon’s content guidelines. Congress’ Republican Study Committee reportedly issued a memo last week charging that Amazon is being hypocritical because it sells books by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, among others.