February 1, 2018: Banning “Conversion Therapy” for LGBTQ Youth
Over 20,000 LGBTQ youth could be subjected to potentially harmful counselling
by a licensed health care professional, with another 57,000 at risk of
receiving similar treatment from clergy or other spiritual advisors. That is
the conclusion of a new report from the Williams Institute on Sexual
Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy at the UCLA Law School. The
report cites the recent statewide trend in bans on so-called “conversion
therapy”, sometimes referred to by its proponents as “reparative therapy”,
which is intended to elicit changes in sexual orientation or gender identity of
children and adolescents. AAP policy states that these therapies are not
effective, may be harmful to LGBTQ individuals by increasing internalized stigma,
distress, and depression, and therefore are never indicated.
Nine (9) states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey,
New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont) and the District of Columbia
have now banned these practices from being used with children, as have 32
municipalities around the country. AAP chapters have been on the forefront of
this issue at the state level, and related legislation introduced in Congress
in 2015 was endorsed by the AAP.
For more from the AAP on this issue, see our
policy statement Office-Based Care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Questioning Youth.