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  1. Opinion

What the psychologists’ report on ‘Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation’ actually said

Here’s what readers had to say in Wednesday’s letters to the editor.
A federal judge has struck down Tampa's 2017 ban on so-called conversion therapy. The practice has been promoted by some religious groups as a way to a way to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. [WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Tampa Bay Times]

What task force report truly says

Tampa’s ban on conversion therapy struck down by federal judge | Oct. 4

U.S. District Judge William Jung apparently misinterpreted the 2009 “Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation” in his decision.

The task force report was based on scientific research spanning nearly 50 years and found that there was insufficient scientific evidence to conclude that sexual orientation change efforts are effective. Conversion therapy, as it is commonly called, could in fact pose harm, particularly to children and adolescents, as it may lead to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and substance-use disorders.

For that reason, APA recommends that psychologists and other mental health practitioners not attempt to change people’s sexual orientation but instead work with them to explore possible life paths that address the reality of their sexual orientation and reduce the stigma associated with homosexuality.

Clinton W. Anderson, Washington, D.C.

The writer is interim executive director of the Public Interest Directorate of the American Psychological Association.

China’s cynical capitalism

All in the interpretation | Oct. 8

I just read about the NBA Houston Rockets’ little scare with Communist China that threatened to cut them off from soon-to-be 100 million Asian fans. I am so proud to see good-old American bottom-line capitalism championed in China as a means to suppress individual freedoms.

Gregory Matthews, St. Petersburg

Trump’s right on this point

Judge rules N.Y. prosecutors can see Trump’s tax returns | Oct. 8

President Donald Trump [EVAN VUCCI | AP]

After the ruling Monday that New York prosecutors can see President Donald Trump’s tax returns, Trump exclaimed, “A thing like this has never happened to any president before.” He’s right. Other presidents have voluntarily released their tax returns.

George Chase, St. Pete Beach

Abandoning the Kurds

Trump faces Syria revolt | Oct. 8

The Trump administration has just stabbed our Kurdish allies in Syria in the back. Next to Israel, the Kurds have been our most loyal allies in the Mideast. Kurds provided the boots on the ground in the fight against ISIS terrorists, and they paid with their blood. Thousands of Kurds died in this struggle. Now President Donald Trump is withdrawing U.S troops that have proved a protective shield to our allies, in effect, giving the green light to Turkey to attack the Kurds, who fear a coming ethnic cleansing.

Robin Yates, St. Petersburg

Intelligent smart phone use

No smart phones in school | Letter, Oct. 5

Attempting to ban smart phones in school will be like eating soup with a fork. Instead of trying to ban them, why not start teaching children how to use them properly along with the ethics of thoughtless internet communications? The children are going to get them and quickly learn the mechanics no matter how old or young they are. Instead of trying to ban smart phones, let’s teach the children how to use them properly, just like any other tool.

G.B. Leatherwood, Spring Hill

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