Support MTA LGBTQ+ Students In Taking A Stand Against MTA Hosting A Conversion Therapist

Support MTA LGBTQ+ Students In Taking A Stand Against MTA Hosting A Conversion Therapist

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Andrew Bryk started this petition to Yeshiva University and

As alums of MTA ('08 and '10), we write this petition to condemn the actions of the MTA administration in hosting a mandatory event for parents with Dr. Gavriel Fagin, a "conversion therapist," about "challenges" faced by their children (1). Bringing in a so-called "conversion therapist" to speak to parents is offensive, harmful and goes against the Jewish values we were taught as students. We instead believe in the power of Jewish values in affirming LGBTQ+ identities and embracing differences within our community rather than furthering stigma, LGBTQ+ phobia, and damaging the well-being of minors.

"Conversion therapy" is immensely harmful, and should never be practiced. "Conversion therapy" does not work and it is condemned by major medical and professional associations, including the American Psychological Association, The American School Counselor Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Medical Association (2). The American School Counselor Association has said that "it is not the role of the professional school counselor to attempt to change a student's sexual orientation/gender identity but instead to provide support to LGBTQ students to promote student achievement and personal well-being (3)." Conversion therapy is not only counter to best practices, but has enormously harmful effects, including depression, anxiety, self-destructive behavior and family rejection which could lead to suicide. LGBTQ+ young adults who experience family rejection during adolescence are 8.4 times more likely to report attempted suicide (4).  

Instead of following the practices that professionals unanimously agree are in the best interest of adolescents, the MTA administration instead chose to promote the narrow agenda of a group of individuals whose methods have been widely condemned. Not only that, conversion therapy is illegal in New York at both the city and state levels (5). Perhaps MTA became privy to this when it deleted its post about the event (6).

We, together with the undersigned, stand in solidarity with all LGBTQ+ students of MTA and the wider community. We pledge to continue to speak out against these actions, support LGBTQ+ people, and fight for the lives and well-being of LGBTQ+ youth.

Andrew (’10) and B.J. (’08) Bryk

(1) See Ari Feldman, Gay Conversion Therapy Provider Spoke At Parent Meeting At Prominent Orthodox School, THE FORWARD (Apr. 3, 2019), https://forward.com/news/national/421966/gay-conversion-therapist-yeshiva-university-high-school/.

(2) See News Release, APA Reiterates Strong Opposition to Conversion Therapy, AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION (Nov. 15 2018), https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/news-releases/apa-reiterates-strong-opposition-to-conversion-therapy (highlighting that no credible evidence exists for changing sexual orientation and that from a mental health perspective sexual orientation does not need to be and should not be changed); So-Called “Conversion Therapy” and LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, THE TREVOR PROJECT (2017), https://www.thetrevorproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Conversion-Therapy.pdf (citing the enumerated medical and professional associations).

(3) Id. 

(4) See id. 

(5) See NYC CONSUMER AFFAIRS, CONVERSION THERAPY IS ILLEGAL IN NEW YORK CITY, https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dca/downloads/pdf/consumers/Conversion-Therapy-is-Illegal-in-NYC.pdf; Chris Mills Rodrigo, Cuomo signs ban on conversion therapy in New York, THE HILL (Jan. 25, 2019), https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/427038-cuomo-signs-ban-on-conversion-therapy-in-ny.

(6) See JQY, Shareable Statement on MTA, FACEBOOK (Apr. 2, 2019), https://www.facebook.com/JQYouth/posts/10156512393239121 (including a photo of the post that has since been removed from MTA’s Facebook page). 

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