“Conversion therapy” endangers LGBT youth and must stop: U.S. report

January 16, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


Efforts to ban conversion therapy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are gaining support. A recent SAMHSA report provides further scientific evidence for the Obama administration’s April petition to ban the practice across the U.S.  Several states have already banned conversion therapy, and many more are considering a ban. The goal of this therapy is to change sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. “We believe that conversion therapy for young people is not in their best interest, and the facts and the evidence supports that,” said White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. The American Psychological Association’s (APA) government relations director, Judith Glassgold, said that this kind of therapy can set off depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, and risky sexual behaviors, and harm self-esteem. According to SAMHSA Special Expert on LGBT Affairs, Elliot Kennedy, “Conversion therapies or other efforts to change sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression are not effective, reinforce harmful gender stereotypes and are not appropriate mental health treatments.”