Amend Guidance Document to protect all VA youth
This guidance document is written is such a way that people whose conscience is violated with acting out on same sex desires would not be able to find support from trained professionals who could use validated approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy to aid these clients in developing coping behaviors to achieve their goals of abstinence. This guidance document should be amended to protect clients that have given informed consent to the counseling process the freedom to receive counseling that supports their goals, recognizing the fundamental ethical principles of autonomy, the client’s right to control the direction of one’s own life. The supporters of this guidance document are supporting people who have no internal conflict with same sex desires or acting on them, disenfranchising many youth that are still trying to figure out their preferences but have a strong belief that same sex attraction is wrong for them and acting out on these desires would create shame. Supporters used research to back their claims. People who have taken classes in research understand that there are many factors in how the research is designed that can affect the results and how they are interpreted. Supporters are emphasizing that the National Boards have banned conversion therapy. Factually, the people on this board were appointed by a Democrat Governor and most likely share a progressive political view. A majority of the behavioral health profession leans toward a progressive political view so to use the national organizations as the source of ethical purity in this situation is somewhat dishonest. In the same way that sexual addiction was not included in the recent DSM because behavioral health professionals on the panels did not want to come across as moralizing, this issue of same sex attraction also is politically and morally impacted. Supporters try to simplify it to state that “people are born this way” does not even support the current trend of fluidity and recognizing the struggle that many adolescents experience in establishing identity. This guidance document needs to be amended to include minors who are still exploring their sexual identity and want support in not acting on same sex desires so that they would not violate their conscience. All citizens of VA need to be respected and protected not just the LGBTQ citizens. A separate informed consent document can be used to protect the autonomy of minors who want to follow their conscience. This could also prevent another part of the population of minors from experiencing depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations and shame because they cannot find professional support for their goals of not acting on same sex attraction. It is a cop out to say that this population can go to their pastors and church for help when the majority of pastors and church leadership does not have the training to effectively help youth struggling with these issues. How can this attitude coming from board members reflect the desire to protect all of the citizens of Virginia? Please make this guidance document reflect protecting all youth not just youth openly comfortable with their LGBTQ identity.