A recent study demonstrates that statewide bans on conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth across the country have resulted in at least 10,000 teens being spared from having to undergo the contentious and often devastating practice.
The Williams Institute at UCLA noted that LGBTQ teens between the ages of 13 and 17 have benefited from statewide bans across 18 different states, NBC News reported. The first state to ban conversion therapy for all minors was California.
Conversion therapy is “a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,” according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Those who are subjected to the practice often come out of it with a host of ill effects, including depression, anxiety, and more. A number of LGBTQ teens begin using drugs as a result, and some have died by suicide after taking part in conversion therapy.
The practice is still allowed in many U.S. states, where teens can be forced into it against their consent if their parents decide to “convert” them into being straight, gender-conforming individuals. While 10,000 teens being spared from the practice is reason to celebrate, tens of thousands more are at risk of being subjected to it.
.@HRC urges the Michigan Legislature to protect our youth from the dangerous practice of so-called “conversion therapy” that increase the risk of:
— HRC in Michigan (@HRC_MI) June 19, 2019
According to the Williams Institute study itself, 16,000 teens will likely receive conversion therapy from a licensed medical professional before they turn 18 in states where it’s still legal. Nearly 57,000 will be given “treatment” from a religious or spiritual doctor.
Overall, the study found that nearly 700,000 LGBTQ individuals in the U.S. have already been subjected to the controversial procedure, which, beyond being unhealthy, is also largely unsuccessful.
“Since the 1970s, no credible medical organization has claimed that one can change — or, by implication, should change — their sexual orientation and/or gender identity,” Catherine Lugg, a professor at the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, told NBC News.