Throwback Thursday – Aubrey Levin, Mike Pence & a return of “conversion therapies”

Throwback Part 1: Here’s looking back and catching up on new and old developments. Most of you are perhaps aware by now that last Spring, “Dr.” Levin was released on parole and is now living in a half-way house.

The CBC report (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/aubrey-levin-sexual-assault-parole-1.3483928) states:

Despite being in denial about his sex crimes and displaying a lack of remorse, former court psychiatrist Aubrey Levin was granted day parole and is living in a halfway house.

The Parole Board of Canada granted Levin’s release from prison last October, though it denied the 76-year-old his request for full parole.

The information is contained in a document recently obtained by the CBC.

“You have claimed the victims lied and that the police and the courts ‘had it in for you,'” reads part of the Parole Board’s decision.

Convicted of sexual assaulting three of his patients between 2008 and 2010, Levin was handed a five-year sentence. But it wasn’t until April 2014 when Levin began serving his sentence after the Alberta Court of Appeal denied his bid for a new trial.

All of Levin’s victims were facing charges and ordered by the courts to be treated by the psychiatrist.

“You appear to have little concern for your victims,” according to part of an assessment considered at the hearing. “You are described as manipulative and present yourself as a victim of the system.”

A psychological assessment prepared for the hearing was just as scathing in its findings, though Levin was deemed to be a low-risk to reoffend.

“You were also noted to deny any sexual motive or basis for your sexual offences.”

Levin told the psychologist that he wasn’t aware that what he was doing was a criminal act in Canada as it’s allowed in his home country of South Africa.

Levin kicked out of religious gatherings

There were two incidents during Levin’s time in custody that were of concern to the panel.

During group sessions, Levin was disrespectful to the rabbi, he competed for leadership, was disruptive and got kicked out of the religious gatherings.

One time while waiting for health care staff became concerned when Levin was discussing another inmate’s physical ailment based on his previous offences.

But by the time Aubrey Levin gave evidence at his parole hearing in October 2015, he was able to tell the panel he acknowledged that his “overall attitude towards the victims has evolved over time,” and that he lacked sympathy at the time of the trial.

Levin also admitted that he inflicted “terrible damage” on his victims.

As part of his release conditions, Levin was ordered to avoid his victims and their families, participate in counselling to address his sexual deviance and not to be in a position of authority.

Throwback Part 2: Conversion therapies make a return in the news thanks to new US Vice-President Mike Pence, part of Donald Trump’s cabinet of sociopaths, oligarchs, Wall Street goons and white nationalists. Last year-end the New York Times reported extensively on the connection between Mike Pence and “conversion therapies.” You can read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/us/politics/mike-pence-and-conversion-therapy-a-history.html?_r=0

Excerpt:

Since Gov. Mike Pence was chosen as Donald J. Trump’s running mate in July, he has faced complaints from groups critical of his record on gay and transgender rights, who said he has long been an opponent of the gains made by the L.G.B.T. community in recent years.

Mr. Pence has been particularly dogged by accusations that he is a supporter of “conversion therapy,” the practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It has been discredited by the medical establishment and denounced by gay and transgender groups.

Mr. Pence’s spokesman, Marc Lotter, denied to The Times over the weekend that the vice president-elect supports the practice, saying a past campaign statement had been misinterpreted. But L.G.B.T. groups remain skeptical, pointing to his record of opposition to gay rights as a member of Congress and as governor of Indiana and an approving reference to conversion therapy in the 2016 Republican Party platform.

So, what is conversion therapy, and why is Mr. Pence so closely associated with it?

What Is Conversion Therapy?  The phrases “conversion therapy” and “reparative therapy” refer to discredited psychotherapy methods that aim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Spiritual efforts to accomplish the same goal are sometimes called “ex-gay ministry.”

Conversion therapy has been condemned by a range of groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, which said it was based on the view that homosexuality is a disorder, an idea “that has been rejected by all the major mental health professions.”

Conversion therapy practitioners “often frame the inability to change one’s sexual orientation as a personal and moral failure,” adding to its harmful effects, the A.P.A. said.

In the past, efforts to change someone’s sexual orientation sometimes involved extreme measures like institutionalization, castration and electroshock therapy, according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Today, critics contend that conversion therapy still sometimes includes physical abuse. For example, a New Jersey organization convicted of fraud last year was accused of sexually abusing its clients and forcing them to participate in violent role-play exercises.

Continue reading the main story

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President Obama Calls for End to ‘Conversion’ Therapies for Gay and Transgender Youth

If there was any doubt that the “conversion” process Aubrey Levin was imparting in South Africa was evil, or that such practices are criminal – please note that this is a topic taken seriously even by the highest govt. authorities. Justice Canada, are you listening? Once again, how could you let a known criminal like “Dr.” Levin enter Canada and give him a medical license to practice and a professorship?

President Obama Calls for End to ‘Conversion’ Therapies for Gay and Transgender Youth – The New York Times, April 8, 2015

The following is the text from the original article by Michael D. Shear published in The New York Times and can be accessed by clicking on this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/09/us/politics/obama-to-call-for-end-to-conversion-therapies-for-gay-and-transgender-youth.html?_r=0

Obana

WASHINGTON — A 17-year-old transgender youth, Leelah Alcorn, stunned her friends and a vast Internet audience in December when she threw herself in front of a tractor-trailer after writing in an online suicide note that religious therapists had tried to convert her back to being a boy.

In response, President Obama is calling for an end to such therapies aimed at “repairing” gay, lesbian and transgender youth. His decision on the issue is the latest example of his continuing embrace of gay rights.

In a statement that was posted on Wednesday evening alongside a WhiteHouse.gov petition begun in honor of Ms. Alcorn, Mr. Obama condemned the practice, sometimes called “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, which is supported by some socially conservative organizations and religious doctors.

The petition has received more than 120,000 signatures in three months.

In an interview on Wednesday, Ms. Jarrett said Mr. Obama had been moved by the story of Ms. Alcorn’s suicide. But she said the problem went far beyond Ms. Alcorn.

“It was tragic, but I will tell you, unfortunately, she has a lot of company,” Ms. Jarrett said. “It’s not the story of one young person. It is the story of countless young people who have been subjected to this.”

Mr. Obama will not explicitly call for a federal law banning therapists from using such therapies on their patients, but he is open to conversations with lawmakers in both parties, White House officials said on Wednesday. Instead, he will throw his support behind the efforts to ban the practice at the state level.

Mr. Obama began his national political career opposed to gay marriage and accepting of limits on gays’ serving in the military. But he now supports same-sex marriage and has sought greater equality of treatment for gay men and lesbians in the government and the private work force. In his first term, he pushed the Pentagon to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that had kept gay service members from serving openly.

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama’s top aides also heralded new protections for gay federal workers that went into effect this week. Last summer, Mr. Obama issued executive orders to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation by federal contractors.

Officials also announced the creation of an “all-gender restroom” in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where many of the White House staff members work, to provide an additional option for transgender individuals who are not comfortable using either the men’s or women’s restrooms.

Therapists who advocate the use of the gender identity therapies promote them as a way of helping gay people change their sexual orientation. Those therapists reject claims that sexual orientation or identity is unchangeable and argue that gay or transgender identities should be reversed so that people can embrace their “authentic” heterosexual selves.

“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,” the group said in a statement.

In Ms. Jarrett’s letter, which was posted on WhiteHouse.gov, the White House says that stopping the gender identity therapies will help make the United States a more welcoming place for gay people.

“Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, let’s say a young man, will struggle to fall to sleep, wrestling alone with a secret he’s held as long as he can remember,” the statement says. “Soon, perhaps, he will decide it’s time to let that secret out. What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his friends and his teachers and his community. But it also depends on us — on the kind of society we engender, the kind of future we build.”

David Pickup, a licensed family therapist in California and Texas, said in an interview on Wednesday that the president and gay rights advocates were purposely misconstruing the work that he and others do. He said that minors should never be forced into therapy, but he insisted that being gay was often brought about by serious emotional problems or sexual abuse.

“We believe that change is still possible. People go to therapy because they can change, because it really does work,” Mr. Pickup said. “We help people grow into their authentic selves.”

Mr. Pickup said he and others were actively lobbying against the proposed state bans, and he urged Mr. Obama to “wake up and understand the rights of people who he doesn’t know anything about and need his help and need his compassion.”


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