Tens-Of-Thousands Of U.S. Teens Subject To Conversion Therapy
A new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA finds thousands of U.S. teens have been subject to ‘conversion therapy’…
A new report has been released showing that tens – if not hundreds – of thousands of LGBTQ youths will be subject to anti-gay “conversion therapy.” The study, conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, found that an estimated 698,000 LGBTQ Americans between the ages of 18 and 59 have undergone the practice, with approximately 350,000 enduring the ‘treatment’ in their adolescent years.
Although the so-called therapy has been widely opposed by numerous medical and mental health organizations, the archaic practice is still legal in a staggering 41 U.S. states. Despite push-back from medical experts, the report finds that an estimated 20,000 LGBTQ youths between the ages of 13 and 17 will be subject to ‘conversion therapy’ by licensed medical professionals.
Some religious institutions and leaders are also responsible for ‘conversion therapy,’ resulting in the alleged treatment of 57,000 LGBTQ youths. Conservative Christian groups, such as the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, are quite vocal about their support of the practice.
The practice is also known as “reparative therapy” or “ex-gay therapy,” and includes treatments such as talk therapy, electroshock therapy, and counselling. Prayer is also a common method practiced among the religious institutions.
Christy Mallory, the study’s lead author, said the results may come as surprising to many Americans, as the nation is taking a strong focus to LGBTQ rights. Mallory says that a significant number of medical health experts and the general public are both in unison with ending the practice.
“I think many people do not realize that conversion therapy is still being used, particularly by licensed health care professionals,” said Mallory, “Our research shows that laws banning conversion therapy could protect tens of thousands of teens from what medical experts say is a harmful and ineffective practice.”
One of the study’s research director, Kerith Conron, said the study’s intention is to debunk the stigma of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to further promote the acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
Four states – Connecticut, Nevada, New Mexico and Rhode Island – banned the practice last year. The Williams Institution researchers are hopeful that the report will influence more states to ban the barbaric practice.