Home / News / A ‘Pivotal Player’ at Trump’s Health Department Previously Promoted Harmful ‘Ex-Gay’ Conversion Therapy

A ‘Pivotal Player’ at Trump’s Health Department Previously Promoted Harmful ‘Ex-Gay’ Conversion Therapy

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Shannon Royce, who has reportedly emerged “as a pivotal player” at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), formerly suggested that ostensible acclimatisation therapy was an remedy to matrimony equivalence and worked for anti-LGBTQ hatred groups that have promoted the dangerous and widely discredited practice.

Politico reported on Jan 22 that Royce, the director of HHS’ Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, has turn “a pivotal player” at the dialect and has been partial of a organisation that’s “spent months sensitively formulation how to break sovereign protections for termination and transgender care.” The announcement combined that she has also helped spearhead “a immeasurable overdo beginning to eremite groups.”

During a November appearance on a worried radio program, Royce suggested that she wanted to boost partnerships with groups that were “considered hateful” under President Barack Obama’s administration, including organizations that are against same-sex couples getting married and adopting children.


Royce has a story of compelling anti-LGBTQ groups and causes, including the damaging and discredited use of acclimatisation therapy. The Human Rights Campaign has written that acclimatisation therapy, infrequently famous as reparative therapy, is “a operation of dangerous and discredited practices that secretly explain to change a person’s passionate march or gender temperament or expression. Such practices have been deserted by every mainstream medical and mental health classification for decades, but due to fortitude taste and governmental disposition against LGBTQ people, some practitioners continue to control acclimatisation therapy.” The American Psychiatric Association has found that the intensity risks of the ostensible therapy “include depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.”

Royce talked to The New York Times Magazine in 2005 about same-sex matrimony and told contributor Russell Shorto that “the ex-gay transformation is a very critical partial of the story”:

The solution to the problem of the happy lifestyle in this perspective is, of course, Christ. The reparative therapy or “ex-gay” transformation has been repudiated by major health and mental health organizations for its arrogance that homosexuality is a forsake to be remade — indeed, in May members of the American Psychiatric Association endorsed that the classification support happy matrimony in the seductiveness of compelling mental health. But for both the inhabitant leaders on the anti-gay-marriage front and Christian village activists, “ex-gay” and “gay marriage” are closely connected, the first being the remedy to the second. Shannon Royce, the executive executive of the Marriage Amendment Project, suggested me explicitly: “The ex-gay transformation is a very critical partial of the story.” [Pastor Brian] Racer spelled it out clearly as well. “I’ve had utterly a few opportunities to warn people who were in a homosexual lifestyle,” he said. “They have generally found themselves in a unfortunate place. They know that Christ promises an abounding life, but that guarantee was done with some restrictions. These people have tried to find accomplishment in ways that are against God’s principles. So you don’t wish to serve the blunder by permitting happy marriage. Most of these folks have had an violent conditions that goes back to childhood. You wish to reanimate that. You wish to hold back the tide and not let such a high impact issue mistreat the whole society.”

Royce has also held comparison roles in organizations that promoted acclimatisation therapy. 

She worked as the arch of staff for the anti-LGBTQ hatred group Family Research Council before landing her sovereign job. FRC’s official position states that it “believes that homosexual control is damaging to the persons who rivet in it and to multitude at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by clarification unnatural, and as such is compared with disastrous earthy and psychological health effects.” 

The FRC explicitly supports conversion therapy as a practice. The Human Rights Campaign notes that FRC promotes the “idea that people can and should try to change their passionate orientation, and that even if you can’t stop ‘involuntary attraction,’ you can just not act on it.” FRC has also fought against efforts to anathema the use in states.

Royce was also the executive executive of the Marriage Amendment Project, which first organized against same-sex matrimony in 2004 and believed “marriage is the kinship of one man and one woman” (the organisation and its website are now defunct). The project’s participants included countless organizations that have upheld acclimatisation therapy, including the American Family Association, Exodus International, Focus on the Family, and FRC.

Its “resources” page also enclosed a couple to advertisements from Exodus International touting the ostensible efficacy of the dangerous practice.

Exodus International was categorically dedicated to compelling acclimatisation therapy. The group’s website in 2004 stated that it is “a worldwide interdenominational, Christian classification called to encourage, strengthen, harmonize and supply Christians to apportion the transforming energy of the Lord Jesus Christ to those influenced by homosexuality.” The New York Times reported in 2012 that Alan Chambers, the boss of Exodus International, “declared that there was no heal for homosexuality and that ‘reparative therapy’ offering fake hopes to gays and could even be harmful.” The following year, the group issued an reparation for its efforts and close down its operations.  

Royce was also the executive director of The Arlington Group, a coalition of numerous Christian conservatives that included Exodus International’s Alan Chambers.

The Marriage Amendment Project’s FAQ page also pushed anti-LGBTQ myths. The plan claimed that “the many critical reason to strengthen normal matrimony is for the contentment of children. Marriage still provides the many fast and nurturing sourroundings for the lifting and preparation of children. Numerous studies have indicated that family fortitude has some-more of an outcome on children than the ‘happiness’ of the relatives involved. … Children, no matter the age, inherently enterprise a attribute with their mom and father. Same-sex matrimony can't yield that fundamental need children lift with them via their lives.” An ACLU fact sheet states that “all of the investigate to date has reached the same undeniable end about happy parenting: the children of lesbian and happy relatives grow up as successfully as the children of heterosexual parents.”

Royce also brings anti-choice views to the department. Right Wing Watch reported that she attended a recent Evangelicals for Life discussion and pronounced that “we have such an extraordinary group at HHS, that is positively a pro-life group opposite the spectrum, and that is personification out in many ways.”

FRC’s “Washington Update” recently noted Royce’s reign at the department, among other things, and wrote: “For Trump voters, few things are as rewarding as the turnaround at HHS.” 

A ask for criticism to the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships was not returned.


Eric Hananoki is a investigate associate for Media Matters. He was formerly a staffer for the Al Franken Show. 

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