Yesterday, President Biden signed an executive order instructing his administration to examine what steps it could take to end “conversion therapy” for minors who identify as transgender. According to the White House press release:

President Biden is charging HHS with leading an initiative to reduce the risk of youth exposure to this dangerous practice. HHS will explore guidance to clarify that federally-funded programs cannot offer so-called “conversion therapy.” HHS will also increase public awareness about its harms, provide training and technical assistance to health care providers, and expand support for services to help survivors. President Biden is also encouraging the Federal Trade Commission to consider whether the practice constitutes an unfair or deceptive act or practice, and whether to issue consumer warnings or notices.

The order itself sweeps much broader than pediatric gender medicine, but that is surely its most controversial element. It should put to rest any remaining doubts over whether the medical scandal of deforming and sterilizing children in order to validate their “internal sense of gender” goes all the way to the top of the American power structure. It undoubtedly does.

The term “conversion therapy” was initially used by gay rights advocates to describe efforts by mental health professionals to make same-sex attracted people heterosexual. In recent years, transgender activists have appropriated the term to target the use of psychotherapy as a measure of first resort for helping minors with gender-related distress to feel comfortable with their bodies. Critics of this approach argue that the only ethical treatment for “gender dysphoria” is “affirmation”—that is, agreeing with a minor’s self-diagnosis. They insist that any effort to explore whether a teenager’s transgender self-identification might result from some other factors—say, a combination of past sexual abuse and depression—is scientifically proven to be deeply harmful.


“I have no room in my heart for hatred and I have no time for intolerance,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, who is transgender, “but we don’t live in a world where everyone feels that way, and this administration understands that more action is needed….”

The above comes from a June 16 posting in City Journal.