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What Is "Conversion Therapy" And Why Are Psychotherapies Exploring Teen Sexual Identity Discomfort Not Conversion Therapy? Conversion therapy, also known as "sexual reorientation therapy", is a wide range of coercive methods designed to modify and repress the sexual orientation of homosexuals in order to "convert" them to heterosexuality. This psychological and even physical torture (electroshock, exorcism, etc.) has been practiced by health professionals, religious figures and sects, particularly in the USA. The law on conversion therapies

On January 25, 2022, the law banning conversion therapies was definitively adopted, creating a specific offence in the penal code, punishable by 2 years' imprisonment and a €30,000 fine.

What does this law have to do with gender identity?

In the same law, the legislator has combined the repression of sexual orientation with that of gender identity:

Art.225-4-13 Repeated practices, behaviors or remarks aimed at modifying or repressing a person's true or assumed sexual orientation or gender identity, resulting in an alteration of their physical or mental health, are punishable by two years' imprisonment and a €30,000 fine. Toutefois il est précisé : "The offence provided for in the first paragraph is not constituted when the repeated remarks merely invite caution and reflection, particularly in view of their young age, on the part of the person questioning his or her gender identity and considering a medical course leading to sex reassignment." COMMENTS

We unreservedly support the ban on conversion therapy for homosexuals. Homosexuals should not be subjected to any constraints on account of their sexual orientation, and should be accepted, respected and listened to in their questioning in the same way as anyone else.

The situation of transgender people is not the same. It involves body transformations, some of which are irreversible. It involves hormones and, more often than not, surgery. Homosexuals ask for nothing from the medical profession, whereas transgender people usually require lifelong medical care, or even surgery, reimbursed by the social security system. From then on, this care concerns society as a whole, and therefore each and every one of us. Young people who say they are transgender feel deeply uncomfortable in their bodies as girls or boys, and claim that they were not born in the "right body". They then ask to be changed, considering that they have been "assigned" to a sex they don't want, in the name of their feelings and their right to self-determination. An adult decides for himself what is good for him, but a minor? All the nuances can exist between social and medical transitions, but a confusion exists between sex and gender: isn't a medical transition requested in the name of gender change, which implies modifications to sexuality and the sexed body in the short, medium or long term, a "conversion"? Can a minor (who generally still has no sexual experience) decide, on the basis of his or her feelings alone, to undergo medical treatments that have consequences, some of which are irreversible, on his or her health, neurocognitive development, future social integration and procreation possibilities, without taking a little time to reflect?

Feelings" are to be heard, not taken literally, without integrating them into the story of a patient and his family. Feelings are labile, especially at this age of psychic and physical metamorphosis, when many adolescents are questioning their sexual identity. For many of them, a medical transition can be understood as a desire to change their sexual orientation: a girl who loves a girl becomes a boy who loves a girl. The growing number of people who return to their natal sex a few years later complain bitterly about the so-called "transaffirmative" mode of care, which consists of accompanying the desire expressed by the young person without questioning them further. They denounce rapid recruitment without any assessment of their psychopathology or trauma, particularly in the context of so-called "informed consent", which is problematic in conditions of psychological suffering. They emphasize that they would have needed support to enable them to explore their psychological suffering. Many of them say that, while they expressed themselves in a request for a change of gender, they were not in fact concerned with gender. They realized that, for 60-70% of them, their dysphoria was linked to their psychopathology and not to gender. Thus, and this is the request of young people who have been deprived of it and who have suffered as a result, welcoming this request in an exploratory and benevolent psychotherapeutic framework is in no way conversion therapy, as the law specifies. The aim of such treatment is to enable these young people to understand the nature of their malaise, to feel better psychologically, and thus to make choices, whatever they may be, free from any pressure. The notion of "demand" in the psychoanalytical sense has been perverted in favor of a demand for authorization to access medical treatments, and is part of a frantic demand for immediate responses symptomatic of our present times and observed in other registers highly prized by adolescents: massive digital consumption and various addictions, etc. In all these cases, the immediate emotional register and reward circuits are solicited without any limits being set by adults. Whether they like it or not, shrinks find themselves caught up in an ideological process, having to satisfy this "demand". In dedicated consultations, the recommendation is to accompany the request and not to question it.

Such a request runs the risk of condoning a medical-psychological act by a teenager in the throes of subjective questioning. As professionals, we are ethically bound to respect a reliable temporality in our interviews and sessions with psychologists, in an attempt to help a young person clarify the meaning of his or her request. A recent report, dated July 28, 2022, announces the closure of Europe's largest and most renowned gender clinic for children and adolescents - the GIDS Gender Identity Development Service - after a report by pediatrician Dr. Hilary Cass, in her expert mission for the NHS (National Health Service), revealed the dysfunctions of the GIDS. In particular, the inadequate care offered to these young people, who suffer from numerous psychopathological disorders (anxiety-depressive disorders, eating disorders, autism, ADHD, various traumas, etc.). Moreover, puberty blockers are widely criticized for the lack of scientific and clinical studies on their short-, medium- and long-term effects on both neurocognitive and somatic development (letter from Dr. Cass published on July 19 and sent to NHS England

Review-Letter-to-NHSE_19-July-2022.pdf) It is therefore highly questionable whether accompanying a request for a sex change based on feelings alone is the only solution to an adolescent malaise. Listening, interpreting, giving time to time can in no way be equated with conversion therapy.

SIGNÉ PAR : Observatoire La Petite Sirène ALI, Association Lacanienne Internationale Le Mouvement du Coût freudien Psychanalyse Actuelle


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