Tens of thousands of LGBTQ youth currently between the ages of 13 and 17 will undergo gay "conversion therapy" from a licensed health care professional, religious adviser or spiritual leader before they turn 18, according to a new report from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.
The study's estimates are based on the Generations survey, a national probability study of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals, and the U.S. Transgender Survey, the largest survey devoted to understanding the lives and experiences of transgender people. Conversion therapy is a medically defunct practice that aims to change one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Currently, talk therapy is the most commonly used therapy technique, the report notes, but some practitioners have also combined this with "aversion treatments," such as induced vomiting or electric shocks, the study explains.
“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,” Christy Mallory, state and local policy director at the Williams Institute and lead author of the study, told NBC News.
Members of Congress introduced legislation at the federal level last year — the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act — that would classify conversion therapy, when exchanged for payment, as consumer fraud. If passed, the law would allows state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission to take action against practitioners of conversion therapy. Read more via NBC News