Gay rights activists bully magazine to ban reparative therapy counselors

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |

NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) -- Therapists who offer reparative or conversion therapy to help gay people seeking psychological help for same-sex attraction will no longer be permitted to advertise in Psychology Today magazine.

The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, first pressured the magazine in February to ban advertisements from mental health professionals who offer the conversion counseling, according to the Huffington Post.

In a letter to the magazine's CEO and publisher, HRC reportedly claimed allowing the therapists to do so victimized "vulnerable individuals" and called the practice "medically debunked."

"By offering a venue for these medically-debunked practices, Psychology Today is lending them a veneer of credibility -- propping up a fraudulent industry that takes advantage of vulnerable individuals, including children and families," HRC spokesman Fred Sainz wrote.

Despite the correspondence, Psychology Today initially refused to ban the therapists from the magazine's directory.

"We take care not to sit in judgement of others by allowing or denying individual participation," Charles Frank, who oversees the advertising directory, told Huffington Post via email.

But after Huffington Post published an article blasting the magazine for refusing to remove the listings, Frank changed his position. Hours after the piece was released, the therapists were removed from the directory and the new company policy was announced and posted online.

"The Therapy Directory has removed the individual whose profile included a discussion of conversion therapy. We have informed all directory professionals that those whose profiles offer conversion therapy will be delisted."

HRC and other gay rights activists seek to pass legislation nationwide to ban the practice of reparative therapy, also called "sexual orientation change efforts" (SOCE).

To date, California, New Jersey and Washington D.C. have banned SOCE for minors.