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The Psychotherapist Association for
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  • October 13, 2023 8:08 AM | Guy Albert (Administrator)

    On National Coming Out Day, an Unprecedented Stand Against LGBTQ+ Conversion Efforts With an Aim to Protect More Americans

     For First Time, Leading U.S. Healthcare Provider Associations Jointly Denounce Attempts to Change People’s Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

    WASHINGTON — Oct. 11, 2023— Twenty-eight major U.S. medical and psychological professional associations, representing more than 1.3 million healthcare providers, have joined together to end so-called “conversion therapy” because such efforts are unscientific, ineffective and put individuals at significant risk of harm.

    Signatories to the United States Joint Statement aimed at ending “conversion therapy” include the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association and American Academy of Pediatrics. This is the first time that so many U.S. medical and mental health associations have agreed to jointly protect the health of LGBTQ+ Americans and they’ve done so on a day (Oct. 11) dedicated to supporting and recognizing those who have come out as LGBTQ+.

    USJS leaders say an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has ignited their campaign to recognize that a person is not mentally ill nor developmentally delayed because they experience same-sex attractions or transgender, nonbinary, or diverse gender identities or expressions.

    The USJS updates some of the signatory associations’ existing anti-conversion statements by adding a shared framework for more actions. These include: informing the public about the research on conversion efforts and the risks; making healthcare professionals aware of the ethical issues surrounding conversion efforts; and providing greater ethical support to clients in distress over their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The USJS increases the impact of these individual statements by bringing together these 28 associations in a rare and unique collaboration. 

    Statement as a Foundation for Legal Protection 

    USJS organizers see the statement as a powerful tool that policymakers can use as leverage as they seek to pass laws prohibiting so-called “conversion therapy” and eliminate the myth that LGBTQ+ individuals can be “cured.” Currently, 22 states, the District of Columbia, and over 115 municipalities have banned such unscientific and harmful practices, and five more states and the territory of Puerto Rico have restricted the use of conversion efforts.

    U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) says, “So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is a sham that is dangerous to members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Major medical organizations have found that conversion therapy has no basis in science and is entirely illegitimate. I was proud to author the country’s first ban on conversion therapy when I was in the California statehouse because it is a harmful and fraudulent practice based on junk science. I recently reintroduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which would place a federal ban on this hateful practice, and I am committed to seeing it signed into law. Everyone deserves dignity, respect and affirmation regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. It’s time to end conversion therapy once and for all.”

    James Guay, M.A., L.M.F.T., Co-Chair, Born Perfect Advisory Committee, says, “As a psychotherapist and a survivor of conversion efforts, I can't help but reflect on my own experiences as a teenager. If only there had been a joint statement like the USJS, it might have spared me months of conversion attempts and the subsequent years of damage that this did.  The USJS serves as a beacon of awareness and education, shedding light on the devastating consequences of so-called ‘conversion therapy.’ My own journey has taught me that these practices not only fail to achieve their misguided goals but also inflict lasting emotional and psychological scars.

    “It is my hope that through initiatives like the USJS, we can educate the public and therapists alike, dispelling the misguided notion that conversion attempts have any merit. Therapy is meant to heal trauma, not cause it."

    Additional Benefit: Stopping Conversion Efforts Can Save Healthcare Dollars

    Beyond the psychological and physical benefits of ending so-called “conversion therapy,” such bans offer the potential for healthcare savings. Research in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that activity to change people’s sexual orientation and gender identities costs the country an estimated $9.23 billion each year.

    Guy Albert, Ph.D., USJS co-founder and co-director, says, “This statement conclusively shows that the U.S. medical and psychological community firmly rejects ‘conversion therapy’ as somehow protected ‘speech-based therapy.’ This fake therapy is not the expression of a viewpoint—it’s dangerous and harmful. We all support the emergence of authentic self-acceptance and identity development in sexual and gender minorities. “

    Jim Walker, M.A., L.M.F.T., USJS co-founder and co-director, says, “The USJS is an educational framework for partnering associations to generate education against conversion efforts and for LGBTQ-affirming healthcare for years to come. It can also be used legislatively and legally as evidence that the major mental health and medical provider associations stand against conversion efforts and for affirming care. The USJS aims to foster greater acceptance, approval and love for patients struggling to find their authentic selves. Our goal is to increase the patient’s growth towards a more loving embrace of self from within and from the wider world.”

    The national associations partnering with the USJS are: 

    • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    • American Academy of Family Physicians
    • American Academy of Nursing
    • American Academy of Pediatrics
    • American Academy of Physician Associates
    • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
    • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy’s Queer and Trans Advocacy Network
    • American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work
    • American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists
    • American College of Physicians
    • American Counseling Association
    • American Medical Association
    • American Medical Student Association
    • American Psychiatric Association
    • American Psychoanalytic Association
    • American Psychological Association 
    • Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
    • Association of Black Psychologists
    • Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Addiction Professionals and their Allies
    • Association of LGBTQ Psychiatrists
    • Association of Psychology Training Clinics
    • Clinical Social Work Association
    • GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LBGTQ Equality
    • LBGT Physician Associates Caucus
    • National Association of Social Workers
    • National Latinx Psychological Association
    • Society of Sexual, Affectional, Intersex, and Gender Expansive Identities
    • United States Professional Association for Transgender Health


    About the United States Joint Statement 

    The United States Joint Statement is a grassroots initiative and is possible because of the collaboration of many champions within the partnering associations and because of the generous funding of several individual donors and the membership of Gaylesta: The Psychotherapist Association for Gender & Sexual Diversity.  Learn more at



    Adam Shapiro


  • March 30, 2021 3:02 PM | Ryan Horvath

    How has COVID-19 and the political/societal turmoil over the past year affected LGBTQ mental health? How are we coping?

    Longtime Gaylesta members (and co-President) Chelsea DeMarte and Ryan Horvath assess the situation and give coping tips in this March 23 Out in the Bay Podcast. 

    See BAR article    Listen to the podcast

  • January 13, 2018 1:02 PM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    We are proud to pass on the results of the Officer Elections of USPATH (United States Professional Association for Transgender Health): Gaylesta member, Erica Anderson, PhD, has been named as President-Elect.  USPATH is a regional association of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). Dr. Anderson is one of Gaylesta's gender specialists with a practice in the East Bay.

  • July 27, 2017 4:36 PM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    We, like many others, were shocked, disappointed and saddened by the tweets of our current president, Donald Trump, on July 26, 2017, announcing a ban on military service “in any capacity” for all transgender persons. His unilateral decision, supposedly based on the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” of transgender service members, involved no consultation with the Secretary of Defense or Congressional leadership. This after tweeting on June 14, 2016: “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.” A true step backward for our country, as this action ironically fell on the 69th anniversary of former President Truman’s executive order abolishing racial discrimination in the U.S. Armed Forces.

    Gaylesta: The Psychotherapist Association for Gender & Sexual Diversity stands in support of the transgender community who choose to defend our nation and make the ultimate sacrifice. Our views are echoed by the many organizations that have spoken out against this recent discriminatory action including the American Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers, Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Transgender Equality, American Counseling Association, World Professional Association for Transgender Health, American Medical Association and countless others that continue to emerge daily. Hopefully these tweets will not, in the long run, impact current policy and law -- given the reaction of some members of Congress and the legal challenges that will be filed as soon as possible. But we also have to look at the fact that hours after Trump’s tweets, the Department of Justice submitted an amicus brief (to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit) arguing that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 offers no protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Tremendous uncertainty remains as to when and who will be affected by further actions of the government. The courage shown by the community is astounding and we ask our members to remain strong, speak up and peacefully protest in all ways we can.

    In solidarity,

    The Gaylesta Board of Directors

  • April 08, 2017 12:00 AM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    Yesterday Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico signed Senate Bill 121 into law, barring conversion therapy for minors in New Mexico. The bill was introduced by State Senator Jacob Candelaria, the first openly gay member of the State Legislature. Her comments about the bill underscored the importance of her signature. She said “I do not lightly enact legislation that makes government a party to the medical care decision-making of a parent and child. Yet, at the same time, numerous reputable medical organizations like the American Psychological Association have rebuked this practice, stating it may lead to depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, self-hatred, substance abuse and suicide.” These remarks stand as evidence of the importance of mental health professionals in educating the public about this and other important issues facing the LGBTQ community.

  • June 16, 2016 5:51 PM | Jeanna Eichenbaum

    We, the Board and Membership of Gaylesta, The Psychotherapist Association for Gender and Sexual Diversity, stand in sadness, solidarity and mourning with our communities (LGBTQI and more, particularly Latinx/a/o and other communities of color) in Orlando.  Although words cannot fully express the range of feelings this tragedy has created, we offer our love, support, condolences, and our tears.  We join with our members, our families and loved ones, and the people of Orlando during this terrible time, and we will continue to work for a more just and peaceful world.

  • February 20, 2016 7:23 PM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    The South Dakota legislature has passed a dangerous bill, HB 1008, that is now on the desk of Governor Dennis Daugaard. This law decrees that "Every restroom, locker room, and shower room located in a public elementary or secondary school that is designated for student use and is accessible by multiple students at the same time shall be designated for and used only by students of the same biological sex." This prevents all trans students from using restrooms which are consistent with their gender identity. This not only stigmatizes trans students, but potentially places them in a hostile environment. Therefore the Gaylesta Board, with Board Member Jeanna Eichenbaum taking the lead, has sent a letter to the Governor, asking him to veto this bill (to read the letter, go to this link). In addition, we would like to alert everyone to a petition on that also urges him to veto it:

  • February 10, 2016 4:53 PM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    Dear Colleagues:
    As mentioned in the post-retreat Board report, a Gaylesta team has set up an initiative matching formerly incarcerated people with interested and experienced therapists. We are excited to announce that the project is now under way. The first clients have been matched with therapists – and there are more in the pipeline.

    We have now met with three reentry organizations eager to provide clients for services:  Project Rebound, at SF State, Waypass at City College, and the Transgender Justice Institute.

    Will you consider providing one or two pro bono slots in your caseload for individuals exiting jail or prison? These would include, but not be limited to LGBTQIA clients.

    If you would like to get involved, please contact us with any questions or concerns. To make this work, we would appreciate if you can provide us with the following information to guide us in making a good match:

    1. How many slots can you offer?
    2. At what address will you see clients?
    3. What is your availability? Do you have a specific time or times that you may be available?
    4. Within that framework, do you prefer that we set up the initial meeting, or do you prefer that client contact you to set the first session?
    5. Are there any client characteristics or clinical issues that you feel would make an individual an unsuitable match for you?

     A consultation group will be available if  there is interest.

    We look forward to hearing from you!

    Judy Siff 
    Nathalie Paven
     Did you know that the U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration of any nation in the world (  That prisoners in the U.S. are overwhelmingly Black or Brown?  That one in four Black people will be incarcerated in their life?  Sometimes the gravity of social injustice is so vast, that it is difficult to figure out where or how to make a difference. As individuals, many of us choose a path of social justice activism – yet the question remains – is there anything we can do specifically within our profession itself?  Although that is more a statement than a question, this project speaks to utilizing our particular skill set in a meaningful way.

  • November 13, 2015 5:15 PM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    Following the polling of our membership on suggested name changes for our organization, the Gaylesta Board reviewed the results of that survey during our Board Retreat November 7th-8th. None of the suggested names were viewed with much favor by members, but there was consensus about a revision to the tag line of Gaylesta. Therefore, from this point forward we will be known as "Gaylesta: The Psychotherapist Association for Gender and Sexual Diversity." We will continue to explore options for new names.

  • November 08, 2015 11:55 AM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    A recent petition was started by unidentified individuals on , calling on the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and others to remove transgender people from the modern LGBT movement. We as an organization reject this hateful and divisive petition. As HRC responded, “We are one movement, stronger in our unity. We are one community, period."

    The Board of Gaylesta

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