May 24, 2024

Hawaii Health Department trains future therapists to conceal conversations with LGBT youth from parents

EXCLUSIVE: A presentation offered by employees of the Hawaii Department of Health encourages staff and graduate students at the University of Hawaii Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy not to document their conversations with LGBTQ+ youth in an effort to keep parents in the dark about their child’s sexual identity.

The training, titled “Affirming practice with LGBTQ+ youth” and obtained by Fox News Digital through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, was delivered to staff and graduate students at the university on May 5 by two members of the Hawaii Department of Health’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division’s Safe Spaces Committee. The presenters were Kimberly Allen, chair of the Safe Spaces Committee, and Robin Lee, a member of the committee.

“Be careful about what you document – parents may be able to access the information,” the presentation noted under a slide about confidentiality.

The same slide – which told viewers to “be aware of Hawaii’s age of consent for mental health services law for youth 14 and older” – also stated: “It should ALWAYS be the LGBTQ+ person’s decision to whom and when they disclose their orientation or identity. Being LGBTQ+ is not a safety risk, but being out could be.”

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“Be careful about what you document – parents may be able to access the information,” one slide of the presentation stated. (Hawaii Department of Health)

Asked about the warning against documenting information related to LGBTQ+ students, Allen, in a statement provided through the state health department’s communications office, told Fox News Digital, “When we say, ‘Be careful about what you document,’ we convey that clinicians, when deciding what words to use in documentation, should carefully consider the youth’s individual situation and any harm that may arise from writing about a youth’s identity in the medical record.”

“If a youth is not ‘Out’ to their parents but discloses their identity to their therapist, the therapist could inadvertently inform the parents if they document this information in the medical record and if the parent requests a copy of that record,” added Allen, a practice development specialist.

As outlined in Hawaii’s minor consent law, the Hawaii Department of Health has noted previously regarding mental health services that “minors 14 years of age or older” can “consent to outpatient mental health services without the consent, knowledge or participation of their parents or legal guardians, upon consultation and agreement of their licensed therapist.”

The Safe Spaces Committee, according to its website, aims to “create and maintain an LGBTQ+ affirming system of mental health care for youth, that advances inclusive practice, urges accepting attitudes, operationalizes diversity, and provides education to the larger community.”

Another slide in the presentation tells listeners to be aware that those they counsel may not have support at home.

“Realize that even though we live in a more liberal and affirming state, individuals’ experiences will be impacted by those around them who may be rejecting (family members, peers, school personnel, religious leaders, politicians),” the presentation states.

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The presentation also asks viewers to understand their own perspective on gender role and sexuality, including how they can use their “privilege” to support those who are “marginalized.”

It asks questions like, “What stereotypes have you been taught about LGBTQ+ people,” “How do your beliefs align or differ from those of your family members, friends, colleagues, etc.,” “What are your privileges,” and “How can you use your privilege to support others who are marginalized?”

Viewers and listeners of the presentation also learn different types of “prejudice,” such as “heterosexism,” “cissexism,” “homophobia,” “transphobia,” “toxic masculinity,” “micro-aggressions,” “micro-invalidations,” “micro-insults” and “micro-assaults.”

Hawaii, pride flag

The Hawaii Department of Health has noted previously regarding mental health services that “minors 14 years of age or older” can “consent to outpatient mental health services without the consent, knowledge or participation of their parents or legal guardians, upon consultation and agreement of their licensed therapist.” (Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge, Pierre-Philippe MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Included on one slide in the presentation was the definition for “minority stress,” which, according to the presenters, includes “additional stressors that people experience due to having a stigmatized minority status.”

“Intersectionality: Sexual and Gender Minority individuals may additionally experience minority stress due to racism, xenophobia, and discrimination based on other minority statuses,” the slide added.

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The presentation concludes with links to the department’s LGBTQ Safe Spaces website, which includes videos that advocate for biological males to play girls’ sports, a directory of so-called “gender-affirming” health care providers, and guides on gender transition through hormone therapy.

Fox News’ Elizabeth Troutman contributed to this report.

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