Conversion therapy, also known as “reparative therapy,” consists of various dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. These practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades. Unfortunately, there continue to be practitioners who conduct conversion therapy. LGBTQ+ youth are especially vulnerable to this harmful practice. Conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, homelessness, and suicide.
To date, only 20 states have banned conversion therapy, with a growing number of municipalities also enacting similar protections. Would you like to start a conversion therapy ban in your city/state? Visit the Trevor Project's page for more info or contact us: ActionLink@lgbtcenters.org.
Conversion Therapy Talking Points
- According to the American Psychological Association (2022), “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy” are known as practices that attempt to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity that must be avoided.
- Both sexuality and gender have been removed from the diagnostic manual used by the American Psychological Association (2022) and therefore neither are a mental illness that can be “cured” using conversion therapy.
- Conversion therapy is harmful and can lead to mental health problems such as depression, low self-esteem, and suicide (American Psychological Association 2022).
- Not all “therapists” who practice conversion therapy are licensed (American Psychological Association 2022).
- LGBTQ+ youth who are highly not accepted by their families and care givers when compared to those that are accepted are:
- More than 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide
- Around 6 times as likely to have depression
- More than 3 times as likely to use illegal drugs
- More than 3 times as likely to be high risk for HIV and other STDs (Human Rights Campaign 2022)
- To date, 20 states and the District of Columbia ban conversion therapy for minors leaving Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming without state-wide bans on conversion therapy for minors according to the Movement Advancement Project (2022).
- 20,000 youth will be exposed to conversion therapy a year in the states that do not ban it if nothing changes (Human Rights Campaign 2022).
- Conversion therapy costs the United States over 9 billion dollars a year (Lang, 2022).
“APA LGBT Resources and Publications.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, https://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/.
“Conversion Therapy Costs U.S. over $9 Billion a Year, Study Finds.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 7 Mar. 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-news/conversion-therapy-costs-us-9-billion-year-study-finds-rcna19040.
“Conversion.” Movement Advancement Project, https://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/conversion_therapy.
“The Lies and Dangers of "Conversion Therapy.” Human Rights Campaign, https://www.hrc.org/resources/the-lies-and-dangers-of-reparative-therapy.