Open letter of psychotherapists concerning the situation of the LGBT+ community in Poland

 Open letter of psychotherapists concerning the situation of the LGBT+ community in Poland

 

We, the undersigned, psychotherapists educated in different schools of psychotherapy, moved by the recent events related to the Equality March in Białystok, express our concern about the current situation of the Polish LGBT+ community and our disagreement with actions which lead to situations like these.

We object to:

* The sharing of false information about the LGBT+ community, especially by people in positions of  public trust, such as politicians, scientists, journalists or church representatives. We object to the discourse which suggests, or even directly claims, a correlation between homosexuality and paedophilia. According to scientific research[1], there is no correlation between sexual orientation and paedophilia, which is a sexual preference disorder. No sexual orientation is a disorder - it is biologically predetermined and cannot be changed. Sexual orientation cannot be “learned” nor is it “infectious”. 

 

 * Rhetoric aimed at evoking fear and animosity. We are particularly concerned about people in positions of public trust inciting hostility toward the LGBT+ community by depicting them, against scientific knowledge, as a threat to the family or children’s safety. Such actions lead to stigma, animosity and consequently to violence.

* Rhetoric leading to social polarisation. We think it is important to recognise that people have doubts, fears, questions, or misunderstandings about the LGBT+ community, and that we must not identify those people with extremists. All the doubts that arise in the face of rapid cultural and civilisational change should be given space for discussion. In this way, fear will not lead to violence but will hopefully be replaced by understanding.

* The attempts by some therapists at conversion (reparative) therapy, which is considered unethical and harmful by, among others, Polskie Towarzystwo Psychologiczne(Polish Psychological Association)[2], Polskie Towarzystwo Seksuologiczne(Polish Sexological Association)[3], and most renowned mental health organisations around the world[4].

 

We deplore the fact that even among psychotherapists there are individuals who still spread unscientific and harmful information about human sexuality.We recognise that creating a negative atmosphere around non-heterosexual orientations and transgenderism is a factor in increasing the number of suicide attempts in the LGBT+ community. Life in a society which is permeated by hostility stoked by actions and words of politicians, media and other influential people, results in suicide, which is always a great tragedy for whole families and communities.

We appeal to:

* All people in positions of public trust, especially the media, to take responsibility for shaping  people’s attitudes, to avoid sensationalism, to use respectful dialogue, to hear out all sides, and to cease aggravating existing conflicts and divisions.

* The government to introduce reliable, scientific, age-appropriate sexual education to schools.

* All scientific organisations and communities, as well as mental health specialists, to spread scientific knowledge about LGBT+ people rather than stereotypes or prejudices, to refute false information and to soothe concerns and fears about LGBT+ people.

* All educational organisations and institutions, as well as individual teachers, to teach and show empathy towards LGBT+ people and to share their knowledge about sexual orientations and transgenderism with students and other members of society.

 

We declare our intention to give people reliable information and education about the LGBT+ community. Moreover, we are ready to support all LGBT+ people and their families according to our competencies and professional roles.

 

The letter was prepared by:

- Agnieszka Kurdzielewicz 

- Aga Szczypior-Bulanda

- Bartłomiej Taurogiński

- Krzysztof Błażejewski

 

This letter has been supported by petitioners:

 

 

 

[1] Extensive research cited and analysed e.g. in: https://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_molestation.html?fbclid=IwAR0dkuoCKCMxO7mNp71X8gVNNF4CJeD8ING1LM7WuXBXGPX3IfVi4RrHPhw (dostęp 23 lipca 2019) oraz  https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00344/full?fbclid=IwAR3iQytGcpPbvl6mMsi9WO_we3m210M1sO9V74OK1A7DztjQxnSeHfA6j68 (retrieved 23 July 2019)

[2] Full statement: http://www.ptp.org.pl/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=659 (retrieved 25 July 2019)

[3] Full statement: http://pts-seksuologia.pl/sites/strona/59/stanowiskoptsna-temat-zdrowia-osob-o-orientacji-homoseksualnej (retrieved 25 July 2019)

 

[4] Full list of institutions, together with fragments of statements: https://medium.com/@florence.ashley/list-of-professional-organisations-opposingconversion-or-reparative-therapy-targeting-transgender-f700b4e02c4e (retrieved 25 July 2019).

 

 

 

 


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