by Brittney McNamara
January 31, 2018
Conversion therapy, which the Human Rights Campaign describes as “a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,” is banned for minors in a handful of states, and is discouraged in others. Beyond that, a number of top medical and psychological associations have called conversion therapy ineffective and potentially harmful. Despite all that, conversion therapy is still a reality for young LGBTQ people across the country, and a new report illustrates just how widespread it is.
According to a new report from the Williams Institute, about 698,000 LGBTQ adults in the United States have received conversion therapy, around half of which underwent the potentially harmful practice before the age of 18. And even though it’s been discredited as ineffective, the report also indicates many more will be subjected to conversion therapy as well. An estimated 20,000 LGBTQ young people in states that don’t ban it will undergo conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional before they turn 18, and about 57,000 young people across all states will be subjected to conversion therapy from religious or spiritual advisers before age 18.
Currently, the Williams Institute points out nine states and the District of Columbia have banned conversion therapy, as have 32 localities.