• July 11, 2014 12:00 PM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    Beth Greivel, a graduate student at The Wright Institute in Berkeley and a new Gaylesta member, submitted a petition to the CAMFT Board of Directors on July 9th, requesting that CAMFT make changes to their Code of Ethics that would denounce sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE). Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) are the largest group of licensed mental health professionals in the State of California, and CAMFT (The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists) should represent their interests. Our hope is that CAMFT will formally acknowledge that SOCE therapists mislead clients about what they provide, fail to provide appropriate services, and instead cause serious harm to clients by reinforcing negative societal messages about LGBTQIQA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, questioning, asexual) individuals. We hope that CAMFT will make its members understand that those who offer such unethical and harmful therapies are not welcome in the organization.

    Many people provided input into the final proposal, including many in Gaylesta's Advocacy Committee. However, the driving force in all this has been Beth Greivel, and she deserves our recognition for her efforts. We encourage you to read this proposal; it can be found online at

    If you are a CAMFT member, your attendance at the Board meeting (September 20th & 21st at The Claremont Hotel in Berkeley) would send a strong message to the Board about the importance of adopting this proposal. If you wish to attend, you must email CAMFT in advance. (Submit your request to Andrea Redd at Please do that NOW so that they reserve a room large enough to seat all who are interested. Proponents of SOCE and others who oppose this proposal may also attend. We urge you to consider speaking in support of the changes outlined in the submitted proposal. A number of us in Gaylesta already have made plans to attend this meeting; we hope to see many of you there as well.

    As soon as the meeting agenda is finalized and it is known when this proposal will be reviewed, we will post the information on our website. We anticipate that many who wish to attend this discussion may not be interested in attending the full two days of the meeting (8:30 AM - 5:00 PM on Satuday, and 8:30 AM - 12 Noon on Sunday). Check back on this website for updates to learn of any further developments or news on this proposal.

  • July 01, 2014 6:22 PM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    On Monday, June 30th, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) finally indicated that they would not grant certiorari (would not be reviewing) two cases filed against California's ban on "sexual orientation change efforts" (SOCE) with minors -- a practice also known as "reparative therapy" or "gay conversion therapy." After California's law (SB 1172) was passed, two challenges were filed against the law (Pickup v. Brown and Welch v. Brown), but the Ninth Circuit Court had denied those challenges. The Circuit Court ruled that the law was a reasonable regulation of professional conduct, and rejected the contention of those challenging the law that it violated "free speech rights" of therapists and patients, as well as violating "parents' rights." While that ruling was appealed, the law could not be enforced, and therapists such as Pickup or Welch were free to continue to offer SOCE to minors in California (and by personal admission did engage in this practice). As the SCOTUS has declined to hear the appeal, SB 1172 can now be enforced to the full extent of the law.

    Having been involved from the outset in the effort to get SB 1172 passed, with members of our organization working very hard on this issue, Gaylesta celebrates this victory with both pride and relief. The battle is not yet over, however, as SOCE can still be offered to adults as a supposedly legitimate form of psychotherapy. We will continue to press forward and fight this practice with adults as well. SOCE only causes further suffering to LGBT individuals, provided by psychotherapists who reinforce the worst of our society's prejudices. These psychotherapists ignore known facts about these practices: research evidence as well as personal stories have shown their harmfulness; they are based upon theories and concepts of sexuality that were dismissed long ago; offering SOCE as "therapy" can be challenged as unethical on many levels.  Continue to watch the Gaylesta website for more news on this issue.

  • April 11, 2014 12:40 PM | Guy Albert (Administrator)

    I sent the following letter to the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) Board members a couple of days ago. Last week, CAMFT published an ad in The Therapist by the American Association of Christian Counselors in which Tony Perkins, a well-known anti-LGBT activist, was featured as a plenary session speaker. Here is my response to the publication of this ad.


    April 10, 2014


    Dear CAMFT Board members,


    I recently learned that CAMFT published an ad for the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) in its most recent issue of The Therapist (March/April 2014). The full page ad for the “International Marriage & Family Summit” appears to be strategically placed just before the CAMFT Annual Conference spread. The ad could easily be mistaken for being part of the CAMFT conference. The AACC recently appeared in the news as one of 3 plaintiffs in the case against New Jersey’s bill to protect youth from SOCE. CAMFT is therefore running an ad for an organization that is defending SOCE practitioners in court.


    What is most egregious about the ad is that Tony Perkins is listed as one of the plenary session speakers at the AACC summit. Perkins, president of the evangelical Family Research Council, is known for his repeated vile attacks against LGBT people. In an All Things Considered (NPR) report, Perkins said, "These young people who identify as gay or lesbian, we know from the social science that they have a higher propensity to depression or suicide because of that internal conflict” (10/26/2010).


    Perkins essentially claims that the much higher rate of suicide among LGBT youth is caused by an abnormality that leads them to despair. He dismisses the notion that the roots of this despair might lie in the marginalization, the bullying, and the rejection that many LGBT kids experience, the very marginalization he and his organization espouses. Further, the “social science” is he referring to is obviously rooted in an ideological perspective that has no basis in science. He has also repeatedly linked gay men and lesbians to pedophiles, with no scientific basis for his assertions. In 1996, Perkins paid $82,500 to use the contact list of former Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke, in a political campaign. He then tried to hide this information and was fined for doing so.


    I understand that CAMFT has a policy of accepting advertisement money without espousing the views held by the advertiser. I nonetheless doubt that CAMFT is really seeking such an indiscriminate and open view of your advertising that you would accept submissions from anyone, even if their perspectives were racist, misogynistic, or violent.


    As was previously noted by some colleagues of mine, and as I continue to experience, CAMFT’s printing of this advertisement in such a prominent location in the publication builds upon its reputation as an organization that supports the marginalization of LGBT people. I am awaiting the CAMFT Board’s response regarding this matter.




    Guy Albert, Ph.D.

    3036 Regent Street,

    Berkeley, CA 94705-2551

    Voice mail: 510-496-3447  Fax: 510-849-2219
  • March 15, 2014 12:00 PM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)
    To read the full story on, click on this link.
    A 30-year-old Chinese man filed a court case on Thursday (March 13) against Baidu (the fifth most frequently used website in the world) for promoting gay conversion therapy in its search results.
    In the next few days, the Beijing court will decide whether to proceed with the lawsuit against Baidu and Chongqing-based Xin Yu Piao Xiang (XYPX). Baidu displayed advertising by XYPX that promised to cure homosexuality. The course of treatment provided to the Chinese man filing the suit (going by the name 'Xiao Zhen') involved electroshock therapy. Despite cutting short the treatment, the consequence has been increased emotional distress for Xiao Zhen.
    According to volunteer lawyer, Huang Yizhi, Baidu has broken various laws for displaying advertisements by XYPX with false claims and giving priority to such claims in searches. XYPX is charged with making false promotional claims.
  • March 13, 2014 11:01 AM | Myles Downes (Administrator)

    For Immediate Release:

    San Francisco, March 13, 2014


    SB1172 was to become effective in January 2013. It has faced legal challenges since December 2012. SB1172 protects minors from the practice of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) by licensed therapists in the State of California. These practices have not only been found ineffective, but are coercive and potentially harmful. CAMFT (California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists) -- unlike most other professional associations of mental health practitioners -- has not denounced the practice of SOCE. In fact, the plaintiffs who are challenging SB1172 in court are CAMFT members. 


    In the past week, CAMFT members who practice SOCE sent an email blast from "Therapists Concerned About Clients." Kevin Bergen, President of the Long Beach Chapter of CAMFT, allegedly used his position to access CAMFT mailing lists for this blast. The email charged other CAMFT members with "ethics violations” because they are working to ban SOCE and urged recipients to vote against those CAMFT board candidates who supported this work in the upcoming elections. 


    Gaylesta, the LGBTQ Psychotherapy Association demands that CAMFT take disciplinary measures with regard to the email blast. The appropriation of its email list for the promotion of a personal agenda should be properly addressed. Those who sent it, some of whom provide SOCE with minors are engaging in a practice that the three branches of California government have deemed illegal and unethical. All those who signed that blast and still practice SOCE with minors should lose their licenses as well as their CAMFT memberships.


    Download Gaylesta's Letter to CAMFT Leadership – our Association's website's home page – petition to have CAMFT take a stand on SOCE – the email blast sent from Kevin Bergen links to this page



    Deborah Cooper, MFT, Gaylesta  Co-President   415-902-2173  (out of country from March 14th until April 7th)

    Marea Murray, LCSW, Gaylesta Board Member and Advocacy Committee Chair  415-846-6309

    Click on this link to download a graphic created by Gaylesta member James Guay that clearly outlines CAMFT's history of heterosexist policies and actions.

  • March 10, 2014 3:30 PM | Myles Downes (Administrator)
    Posted by Jim Walker, Gaylesta Member

    Please sign this petition asking the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) to change their Code of Ethics to clearly state that SOCE practices are unethical for their members.

    A law protecting youth in California from SOCE by any licensed therapist was supposed to take effect in 2013. However, several California therapists - among them David Pickup, MFT, a CAMFT member--have stopped the law by repeatedly challenging it in court. This year Mr. Pickup is blocking the law from taking effect by taking it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Eventually the court will stop Mr. Pickup and other practitioners in California from blocking the law from taking effect. However the law only protects those under 18.

    By asking CAMFT to change their ethics for their 31,000 members, you will not only protect youth in California from SOCE being used by CAMFT members, you'll protect adults too from CAMFT members using it on them. CAMFT can provide extra protection from SOCE that the law can't. CAMFT changing their ethics will clearly educate the public and all therapists that SOCE is harmful and ineffective.

    In addition, certain CAMFT members also teach SOCE to other practitioners. By signing the petition, you'll stop people like Mr. Pickup from teaching their harmful practices to others when they're CAMFT members.

    Click on this link to download a graphic created by Gaylesta member James Guay that clearly outlines CAMFT's history of heterosexist policies and actions.

    Beth Greivel, a psychology grad student in Berkeley, launched this petition. Gaylesta proudly joins her in advocating for CAMFT changing their ethics and we urge everyone to sign her petition. Thanks very much!
  • February 22, 2014 7:40 AM | Myles Downes (Administrator)

    Gaylesta works to establish professional standards of appropriate LGBTQ-affirmative psychotherapy as well as to protect our population from harmful psychotherapy practices.  We were in the forefront of the movement to ban SOCE (sexual orientation change efforts, also known as ex-gay, conversion or reparative therapy) that led to the passage of SB 1172 in September, 2012.  This California law prohibits licensed mental health providers from practicing SOCE on minors.


    The need for such legislation emerged in 2010 when we became aware that the BBS, the licensing board for MFTs and LCSWs, had approved a well-known SOCE organization as a provider of continuing education for therapists.  We organized a letter writing campaign asking the BBS to prohibit these trainings, based on substantial research that such techniques are useless, fraudulent and result in substantial harm for clients subjected to these methods.  Since the BBS and the BOP (the licensing board for psychologists) took the position that they are merely enforcing state regulations on mental health, Gaylesta’s Advocacy Committee concluded that the most effective way to eradicate these practices was through legislation.


    Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) and Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) were the first legislators we contacted who took up this cause.  When Assemblyperson Ma’s legislative term was over, the work was carried forward by State Senators Ellen Corbett (D-Hayward) and Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach).  Ultimately, Ted Lieu (D-Torrence) sponsored SB 1172.  As this bill took shape, Equality California (EQCA) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) became official sponsors and worked with legislators to ensure the bill’s passage.  AAMFT-CA (American Assoc. for Marriage and Family Therapy, Calif. Division) devoted considerable time and effort to shape a bill that mental health professional organizations could support.  We are grateful to all the organizations and individuals who worked on this bill, which is the first in the U.S. to prohibit SOCE for minors.


    Lawmakers in Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Virginia have followed California’s lead in proposing bills of their own, and New Jersey now has a similar bill that was signed into law.


    SB 1172 was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2013, but has been facing legal battles since it was signed.  Two lawsuits were filed in district courts in California to try to prevent the bill from being enacted.  The primary argument is that SB 1172 violates First Amendment rights of free speech.  However, the court has consistently ruled (both here and New Jersey, where their bill is being similarly challenged) that the law is an appropriate regulation of medical practices, and is not restricting free speech.  The plaintiffs are now asking the United States Supreme Court to hear the case.  We are waiting to hear a decision from the Court.  If they opt not to take up this case, the law goes into effect without further delay.


    While we recognize the importance of this landmark legislation in protecting the well being of minors, we hope to see a total ban on SOCE.  This practice perpetuates the belief that LGBTQ people are sick, and that sexuality can be changed with enough effort.  The effect of these beliefs on LGBTQ individuals is often severe depression and suicide attempts as well as misery for their spouses and children.


    While most mental health organizations have taken strong stands against SOCE, there is one notable exception.  CAMFT (California Assoc. of Marriage and Family Therapists) has not taken a stand in denouncing this practice, and the plaintiffs who are challenging SB 1172 in court are CAMFT members.  This is consistent with CAMFT’s reluctance to support marriage equality despite significant pressure from many of its members, as well as their lack of support for other legislation that supports the mental health of LGBTQ people.


    We urge our membership, our community and our allies to help spread the word about SOCE and support the ban of this harmful practice.  We will continue to work for a clear delineation between mental health practices and religious beliefs, and for the acceptance of LGBTQ people in all sectors of society.

  • December 01, 2013 9:38 AM | Myles Downes (Administrator)
    One of Gaylesta’s members, Guy Albert, recently sent this letter to Lieutenant General Michelle D. Johnson at the United States Air Force Academy, protesting their staff choice of Dr. Rosebush, who has a history of practicing reparative therapy. Read the letter below.

    Lieutenant General Michelle D. Johnson
    United States Air Force Academy
    2304 Cadet Drive Suite 3100
    USAF Academy, CO 80840-3100

    Dear Ms. Johnson,

    It has come to our attention that the United States Air Force Academy has within its ranks a leader who has spent many years promoting the treatment of homosexuality. Dr. Mike Rosebush, who is currently director of counseling at the USAFA, has an extended history of attempting to “cure” gay people of their homosexual desires. These practices, known as Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE), have been denounced by nearly all the leading mental health associations in the US, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

    As members of the largest LGBTQ therapist’s association in the country, we are increasingly aware of the damages that SOCE have caused countless people, including young adults and minors. The harms of these practices have been so extreme that they have sometimes caused depression, substance abuse, and suicide, and SOCE are being outlawed in several states. We cannot hold silent knowing that a person who has promoted such practices is now in charge of the development of character and leadership of young adults.

    Dr. Rosebush’s 20-year history with anti-LGBTQ therapy cannot be dismissed with well-intentioned assurances. His employment with USAFA is an implicit endorsement of his past practices and beliefs. He has published instructions to change sexual orientation, he has years of membership and directorship in organizations focused on anti-LGBTQ propaganda, and his words of hatred for LGBTQ people sends a negative message to all cadets. Though we understand that Dr. Rosebush’s functions do not necessarily include therapy with cadets, his work is related enough to counseling or coaching that his influence on training and morale will most certainly affect cadet populations. Dr. Rosebush’s career has focused on advocating homophobic, unscientific practices which have caused harm to many LGBTQ people, including Air Force Academy cadets.
    We trust that you understand how sexual orientation and gender identity continue to be issues of great concern in our society, and we believe that you have every intention to create a culture of acceptance in the Air Force Academy. In that respect, being mindful of a leader’s sphere of influence goes a long way in creating an environment that is sensitive to social and cultural diversity. We ask that you replace Dr. Rosebush with a leader who holds respect for diverse populations, including people of different sexual orientations. We would love to know that you stand behind your statement that USAFA is welcoming and supportive of diversity. We will appreciate your response to this letter.


    Guy Albert, Ph.D.
    On behalf of Gaylesta, the LGBTQ therapists association.

    cc: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning, President Barack Obama