Federal Court Affirms Right to Therapy for Unwanted Gender, Orientation Feelings


The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that the First Amendment allows patients to seek therapy to treat unwelcome feelings of sexual attraction or gender dysphoria.

In the original panel decision, the court stated:

Boca Raton and Palm Beach County prohibit therapists from engaging in counseling or any therapy with the goal of changing a minor’s sexual orientation, reducing a minor’s sexual or romantic attractions (at least to others of the same gender or sex), or changing a minor’s gender identity or expression—through support and assistance to a person undergoing gender transition are specifically permitted. These restrictions apply even to purely speech-based therapy. Two therapists argue that the ordinances infringe on their constitutional right to speak freely with clients. They appeal the district court’s denial of their motion for a preliminary injunction. We understand and appreciate that the therapy is highly controversial. But the First Amendment has no carveout for controversial speech. We hold that the challenged ordinances violate the First Amendment because they are content-based regulations of speech that cannot survive strict scrutiny.

The panel noted that Boca Raton’s ordinance forbade counselors from helping minors to change their sexual orientations or gender identities. This includes but isn’t limited to attempts to modify behavior, gender identity, expression, or reduce or eliminate romantic or sexual attraction towards people of the same gender.

Similarly, Palm Beach County sought to ban “the practice of seeking to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, including but not limited to efforts to change behaviors, gender identity, or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender or sex.”

However, the court noted that both ordinances permit counseling to offer support and assistance to anyone going through a transition.

It was impossible for minors to be counseled to accept their gender while allowing them the freedom to change to the other gender.

Unfortunately, a lot of children’s culture, from schools to cartoons, tries to influence their innocence and force them to believe in exotic sexuality.

It’s absurd that leftists would prohibit parents from taking their children in to see a professional for help with an environmental problem.

It is not only the sexual identity distress that patients with Homosexual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder suffer from but also the possibility of heterosexual patients being gay. They should not be denied competent treatment. What about the child who was sexually abused? This patient may be allowed to get counsel, even though he/she might be boring or straight.

Wednesday’s panel’s decision that traditional and heterosexual counsel have equal rights to the alternative was confirmed by the Eleventh Circuit. “But, the First Amendment applies even, especially to speech that isn’t widely-popular

Liberty Counsel is a Christian non-profit that represented therapists and their minor clients. Mat Staver was the Chairman and Founder.

Counselors and their clients now have the freedom to choose the counsel they need and can be freed from government censorship. This is a significant victory. Counselors and clients can now choose the counsel they want. They are also free from political censorship by government ideologues. They could not help clients seeking to end unwelcome sexual behavior, confusion, or attraction.

This important ruling offers hope for the families of unhappy youth worried about their future. Happiness is an American right.