The Israel Medical Association has publicly declared a firm stance against gay conversion therapy.
The leading association has banned all of its members from performing the harmful and debunked medical practice.
‘There is a special danger in referring children and teenagers to treatment meant to change one’s sexual orientation,’ the IMA said in a statement.
An expose in Ynet news revealed the ‘underground’ world of conversion therapy in Israel, especially amongst religious groups.
A complaint filed to the IMA’s Ethics Committee prompted the association’s review of its position on conversion therapy. The IMA acknowledged the psychological impact conversion therapy had on people.
‘A comprehensive review of studies and position papers from other organizations showed an agreement that there is no place for any treatment based on the assumption that homosexuality is a disease or a disorder that requires treatment,’ the IMA said.
‘The treatments to change one’s sexual orientation have been found to be ineffective and could cause mental damage, such as anxiety, depression and suicidal tendencies.’
Other associations to sign the IMA’s position paper on conversion therapy include: Israel Psychiatric Association, the Israeli Adolescent Medicine Society, the Israel Pediatric Association, the Society to Promote Health in the LGBT Community, the Israel Association of Family Physicians and the Israel Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Association.
LGBTI advocates in Israel welcomed the new position.
‘We felt that the medical associations in Israel had to make their stance clear. These important guidelines can save lives,’ Dr. Ruthi Gofen, co-founder of Gan Meir LGBT Center in Tel Aviv told Ynet.