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LETTERS: Mental health; Help for youth

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A dutiful mind

Dear Windy City Times:

Thank you for the informative article regarding recent statements by the American Psychiatric Association that support gender-affirming care; condemn discrimination against transgender individuals; and call for policies and practices that are consistent with supporting the physical and mental health of transgender/gender-variant individuals. The article does an excellent job of elucidating the importance of major health and mental health organizations in setting the standard in our fields to both eradicate old, less-informed practices and support up-to-date best practices and standards.

The phrase "mental institutions" attributed to me in the article could be misleading to most readers. I would not have spoken about mental institutions in this context. I was discussing mental-health organizations. To someone in our field, a mental institution is a facility that treats mental illness. There is a long history of LGBTQ people having been inappropriately "treated" in mental institutions in an effort to make us fit in with the cultural majority. In my work as a psychologist, I've treated people who were horribly physically and psychologically traumatized by those old practices.

Organizations such as the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association guide standards of care and practice in the United States. These standards of care inform, or should inform, the practices in mental institutions/psychiatric-care facilities, psychiatrists and psychologists as well as influencing what is taught to the next generation of mental health practitioners. The quote should have stated "…major health and mental-health organizations are saying about transgender and gender-variant individuals."

Again, thank you for spreading the word about advancements in the policies and practices of health and mental health organizations regarding LGBTQ people. It is a powerful message with far-reaching impact that no major medical, psychiatric, social-work or psychological organizations in the United States support any treatments designed to change LGBTQ individuals into being anything but ourselves.

Dr. Claudia Mosier

Center on Halsted

Helping youth

Letter to the Editor:

The concern for homeless LGBT youth in our very diverse communities has brought out the best from part of the people of faith in these communities. Many small Protestant churches and Jewish temples are providing services to this homeless population, and yet the largest religious social service provider in the metropolitan area of Chicago is not. Reasonable people ask why that is; however, more importantly, why have Mayor Rahm Emanuel, 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney and 46th Ward Ald.James Cappleman not asked that same question?

The Rainbow Sash Movement (LGBT Catholics) joins Henry Bayer, executive director of AFSCME Council 31, who said, "Contracting out this critically important program to Catholic Charities raises concerns for its ability and willingness to appropriately serve the many diverse individuals who need help."

Ed Shurna, executive director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, said, "The focus on kids is right-on. If you could stabilize kids, give 'em a good place to live and an education, then you're gonna stop homelessness before it repeats itself.

"In the public schools, there are over 17,000 kids who are doubled-up. Their parents don't have the resources to pay for the rent, so they're doubled up with relatives or friends. "

That's even more so for LGBT homeless youth whose parents may have kicked them out of their homes because of whom they are only to find safety from other homeless LGBT youth.

What is Chicago Catholic Charities doing for this challenged population—absolutely nothing? One of the largest Catholic churches (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel) in the area appears to be more concerned with the Pride Parade passing by its front doors than about ministering to this endangered population.

This is a very sad commentary on the gospel values this Catholic community and Chicago Catholic Charities claim to be promoting. It is time for the Catholic community in Boystown to become good neighbors and give sight to its blindness when it comes to homeless LGBT youth.

Joe Murray, Executive Director

Rainbow Sash Movement (LGBT Catholics)

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