FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Youth Law Project, Inc. (KYLP), and Born Perfect, a project of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), filed a complaint with the Kentucky Board of Social Work on behalf of our client, Curtis Galloway, against Joseph A. Williams, a licensed clinical social worker based in Mayfield, Kentucky. The complaint alleges that Williams subjected Galloway to the unethical and discredited practice of conversion therapy when Galloway was a minor, causing Galloway to experience serious and lasting harm.
The complaint also alleges that Williams falsely informed Galloway’s parents that being gay is a disorder and can be changed through counseling services, which Williams offered and subsequently provided.
By engaging in this practice, the complaint asserts, Williams violated numerous professional and ethical standards and should be investigated and disciplined by the Kentucky Board of Social Work.
“Born Perfect is proud to file this complaint in support of Curtis Galloway so that his former therapist will no longer be able to prey on vulnerable youth and their families,” said Born Perfect co-founder Mathew Shurka. “Conversion therapy is reckless and harmful and licensed clinicians who engage in it must be held accountable for the damage they cause.”
“I am filing this complaint to hold Mr. Williams accountable and to ensure that no other person experiences the guilt and shame that people like him inflict on their patients,” said Curtis Galloway.
The notion that being gay or lesbian is a mental illness or disorder that may be treated or cured through psychotherapy has no scientific support and has been soundly rejected by the medical and mental health community. Subjecting patients to conversion therapy is extremely dangerous and puts them at risk of serious harms, including depression, loss of self-esteem, and dramatically increased rates of suicidality.
“LGBTQ kids should be supported by the adults in their lives—not pathologized and subjected to dangerous, fake therapy. KYLP stands with Curtis and with all conversion therapy survivors,” said Keith D. Elston, Kentucky Youth Law Project Legal Director.
Medical science now uniformly agrees that same-sex sexual orientation is part of the normal spectrum of human diversity, and in no way constitutes a mental defect or pathology. In its landmark marriage equality ruling, Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court noted that “psychiatrists and others [have] recognized that sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable.”
The complaint asks the KBSW to investigate Mr. Williams for subjecting his patients to conversion therapy and impose appropriate sanctions to prevent Williams from subjecting other patients to this dangerous practice either now or in the future.
Born Perfect is a survivor-led program created by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in 2014 to end conversion therapy by passing laws across the country that protect LGBTQ children and young people, fighting in courtrooms to ensure their safety, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by these dangerous practices. https://bornperfect.org
Kentucky Youth Law Project is a nonprofit legal services corporation whose mission is to enhance and protect the legal rights of LGBTQ+ children and youth through free legal representation, education, and public policy advocacy. Because up to 40% of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+, KYLP’s goal is to reduce homelessness and promote equal treatment of LGBTQ+ youth in social welfare agencies, government services, the courts, and public schools throughout Kentucky. https://www.kylp.org