WHAT IS CONVERSION THERAPY
Conversion therapy is a practice that is intended to change the sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of individuals who identify as LGBT (Mallory et al., 2018).
CONVERSION THERAPY FACTS
Approximately 700,000 LGBT adults have undergone conversion therapy in the United States (Mallory et al., 2019).
Individuals who are younger, LGBTQ, non-binary, Hispanic, & less educated are more likely to undergo conversion therapy (Higbee et al., 2020).
Conversion therapy practices can include talk therapy, abstinence training, electroconvulsive therapy, surgery, etc. (Przeworski et al., 2021)
Conversion therapy is associated with many negative outcomes including, poor self-esteem, suicidality, depression, anxiety, self-hatred, substance use, etc.(Przeworski et al., 2021).
20 states have banned medical professionals from practicing conversion therapy (Movement Advance Project, 2021).
Perpetrators of conversion therapy can include, medical professionals, religious authorities, family members, and conversion camp leaders (Kinitz et al., 2021).
THE HEALTH AND PUBLIC WELFARE
EFFECTS OF CONVERSION THERAPY
There is a movement to ban conversion therapy for children in the United States, with 20 states already doing so. Religious organizations and individuals are lobbying to obtain statutory rights to overcome bans on conversion therapy, and often obtain exemptions to the neutral, generally applicable bans.
“I was traumatized by the whole experience. It led me down a path of severe depression, and at one point I attempted to take my own life. I feel blessed that I did not acquire any life-threatening illnesses from ages 18 to 21, when I consistently engaged in high-risk behaviors to cope with the negative experiences from coming out.”
“Nothing can take away the harm inflicted on me in the past, but we can make it better for the present and future. Conversion ‘therapy’ is barbaric and does not work. I didn’t need or deserve that treatment; I deserved and needed acceptance.”
“Afterwards, I went into total denial about my sexuality and embraced the idea that I had been ‘cured’. But at the same time, my mental health bombed, my self-harm increased dramatically, and I was depressed.”
CONVERSION THERAPY IN THE NEWS
Lieu introduces federal bill to ban LGBTQ 'conversion' therapy nationwide
Fourth Circuit Tosses Suit Over Maryland Ban on Conversion Therapy
Governor kicks off Pride Month banning use of state and federal funds for barbaric conversion therapy
North Dakota Finds Novel Way to Ban Most Conversion Therapy
Higbee, M., Wright, E. R., & Roemerman, R. M. (2020). Conversion therapy in the southern United States: Prevalence and experiences of the survivors. Journal of Homosexuality, Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2020.1840213
Kinitz, D. J., Salway, T., Dromer, E., Giustini, D., Ashley, F., Goodyear, T., Ferlatte, O., Kia, H., & Abramovich, A. (2021). The scope and nature of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression change efforts: A systematic review protocol. Systematic Reviews, 10(1), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-020-01563-8
Mallory, C., Brown, T. N. T., Conron, K, J. (2019). Conversion therapy and LGBT youth- Update. The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Conversion-Therapy-Update-Jun-2019.pdf
Movement Advancement Project. (2021, June 14). Equality maps: Conversion therapy laws. https://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/conversion_therapy
Przeworski, A., Peterson, E., & Piedra, A. (2021). A systematic review of the efficacy, harmful effects, and ethical issues related to sexual orientation change efforts. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 28(1), 81-100. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1111/cpsp.12377