One Step Closer to Banning Conversion Therapy for MA LGTBQ Youth

Bill will bar state-licensed health providers from engaging in therapy aimed at changing the gender identity or sexual orientation of LGBTQ minors

BOSTON, MA – State Representative Kay Khan (D-Newton) applauded her legislative colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate who passed the so-called “Conversion Therapy Ban Bill” by a vote of 34/0. H.140, An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Khan and successfully passed by a vote of 147/8, and co-sponsored by 116 state legislators, including members of both the House and Senate.

“As this bill’s lead sponsor, I thank Senate President Karen Spilka for pushing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts one step closer to banning state licensed conversion therapy, as we did in the House of Representatives two weeks ago under House Speaker Bob DeLeo’s leadership,” said Chairwoman Khan. “I am proud that I have persisted session after session in filing the Conversion Therapy Ban Bill and to be working with a broad coalition of over twenty statewide legal, mental health, child welfare, and LGBTQ organizations, as well as parents dedicated to promoting the well-being and safety of our children in Massachusetts. At the end of the day, this bill is about prohibiting discrimination in health care settings for youth in the LGBTQ community.”

Currently, state-licensed health providers are legally allowed to subject children, under the age of 18, to harmful and abusive conversion therapy practices to change sexual orientation or gender identity. Such practices include, but are not limited to, efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex. Editor’s note: learn more about reporting on conversion therapy.

A 2018 study found that the rate of attempted suicide by LGBTQ youth whose parents tried to change their sexual orientation was more than double the rate of LGBTQ youth who reported no such attempts. For LGBTQ young people who reported both home-based efforts to change their sexual orientation by parents and efforts by therapists or religious leaders, the rate was three times higher. Organizations like The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, are invested in ending conversion therapy in every state.

“As the final legislative vote passes to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy, it’s important to acknowledge that this bill will save numerous young lives in Massachusetts,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs, The Trevor Project. “Life-saving policy leaders like State Representative Khan, the hundreds of Representatives and Senators in support of this bill, and the thousands of local advocates from The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States campaign should be proud of their unwavering support of LGBTQ young people and survivors of conversion therapy.”

The nation’s leading professional and mental health organizations universally condemn conversion therapy methods, which put youth at high risk of depression, anxiety and suicidality. The bill is supported by a large coalition of over twenty organizations in Massachusetts, including: GLAD, National Association of Social Workers Massachusetts, MassEquality, the ACLU of Massachusetts, the Boston Bar Association, the Children’s League of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Psychological Association, Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, and more.

“We are deeply grateful for the dogged advocacy of Representative Khan and the strong leadership support of Senator Julian Cyr and Senate President Karen Spilka in getting the bill through the Senate,” said Arline Isaacson, Co-Chair of the Coalition to Ban Conversion Therapy for Minors.

If enacted and signed by the Governor, Massachusetts will become the sixteenth state, along with Washington, D.C., to ban conversion therapy practices aimed at changing gender identity and/or sexual orientation of LGBTQ minors.

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State Representative Khan has represented Newton in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1995. She was originally appointed by Speaker Robert DeLeo in 2009 to serve as the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities, and has served in this capacity ever since.

ABOUT THE TREVOR PROJECT

The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.

MEDIA CONTACT

Kevin Wong
The Trevor Project
646.576.7044
[email protected]


Maloney Introduces Legislation to Ban Use of Taxpayer Dollars for Conversion “Therapy”

Bill Would Prohibit Use of Medicaid Funding, Crack Down on Deceptive Billing Practices for Conversion “Therapy”

WASHINGTON – Today, in advance of the Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31st, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), a co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, introduced the Prohibition of Medicaid Funding for Conversion Therapy Act. The bill would prevent Medicaid funds from being used to pay for conversion “therapy” and crack down on misleading billing tactics, which have allowed taxpayer dollars to fund the discredited practice. The bill is cosponsored by 63 members of Congress.

“Conversion practices are discredited, harmful, and not therapy. Fundamentally, conversion tactics are based on the idea that a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation are diseases to be cured — they have no legitimate medical application and should not be used anywhere,” said Rep. Maloney. “Until we can just ban conversion therapy all together, we must ensure taxpayer dollars aren’t funding a fraudulent practice that has been roundly discredited by the medical community. That’s exactly what my bill would do.”

“The Trevor Project hears from youth harmed by the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy every week. By limiting the means by which licensed mental health professionals can be reimbursed for their horrific practice, the Prohibition of Medicaid Funding for Conversion Therapy Act will make clear that conversion therapy is far outside the mainstream,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “More than 21,000 advocates have joined The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States campaign dedicated to protecting LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy. We look forward to mobilizing them to ensure this critical legislation receives the attention and support it deserves.”

“Being LGBTQ is not a mental illness and should never be treated that way,” said David Stacy, Government Affairs Director for Human Rights Campaign. “So-called ‘conversion therapy’ has been universally rejected by every major medical and mental health organization, and it poses serious health risks including depression and suicide. Taxpayer dollars should never be used to fund this dangerous and discredited practice. As lawmakers across the country step up to protect against conversion therapy, we are grateful for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s leadership on this issue at the federal level. We call on Congress to advance this legislation and ensure funds meant to improve the lives and welfare of all Americans never go toward harmful, medically unnecessary practices.”

“The NEA wholeheartedly supports the ‘Prohibition of Medicaid Funding for Conversion Therapy Act’ and applauds U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney for introducing this legislation,” said Marc Egan, Director, NEA Government Relations. “Many organizations, including the American College of Physicians, have discredited any programs that attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. These dangerous practices damage physical, mental, and emotional well-being. As educators, NEA members strive to connect with and support all students, which means recognizing their right to be exactly who they are and opposing all practices that deny this right.”

“Conversion therapy is hateful, dangerous, ineffective, has been resoundingly discredited by medical and psychological associations, and has no place in a just and equitable society,” said Justin Rush, Public Policy Director for True Colors United. “We’re thankful to Congressman Maloney for undertaking this important legislation to ensure that payments through Medicaid for conversion therapy are prohibited moving forward,” concluded Rush.

“Conversion therapy is dangerous and discredited,” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of Equality Federation. “Through our 43 member organizations we’ve heard from many survivors about the harm and trauma this practice has caused them. Major medical and psychological associations agree, and we know from our personal experiences, that LGBTQ youth are healthier and happier when they are loved and encouraged to be themselves.”

“Family Equality Council is thrilled that Congressman Maloney is leading the effort to ban conversion therapy funded by Medicaid, which is the healthcare provider for foster children,” said Schylar Baber, Federal Policy Consultant at Family Equality Council. “Passage of this bill will mean that foster children, who often don’t have strong support from adults in their lives, will be able to trust that their medical providers will not subject them to this abusive procedure. As a foster care alumni who was subjected to conversion therapy while in care, I can’t overstate the importance of medical providers ensuring that all medical treatment is in the best interest and supports the well-being of the child.”

“Conversion therapy is a charlatan practice that has been widely debunked and discredited by healthcare professionals and banned by law in 15 states, Washington DC, and scores of municipalities and counties,” said Gal Mayer, MD, MS, President, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality. “As a healthcare provider, I know that these dangerous and unsuccessful attempts to alter a person’s sexuality or gender identity do not work and can result in mental health problems, substance use, and suicide. GLMA has been a staunch opponent of this indefensible, ineffective and fraudulent ‘therapy’ for decades, and fully supports the Prohibition of Medicaid Funding for Conversion Therapy Act introduced by Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, which would put an end to Medicaid payments for conversion therapy and represent the next step forward in completely eradicating this disgraceful practice in the US.”

“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is a harmful, ineffective solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Rick Zbur, Equality California Executive Director. “We should be using Medicaid dollars to expand access to quality, affordable care — not spending taxpayer money on dangerous junk science.”

Conversion “therapy” attempts to “cure” the sexual orientation or gender identity of members of the LGBTQ+ community. Despite being discredited by the American Psychiatric Association, American College of Physicians, American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, and other medical and civil rights organizations, thousands of innocent LGBTQ people are subjected to so-called “conversion” or “reparative therapy” each year. Research has found that the practice can lead to depression, decreases in self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ young people have been forced to undergo the practice.

States currently decide which services Medicaid can cover and most have failed to ban the use of funding for conversion “therapy.” Because CMS codes do not mention the model of therapy being applied, even illegitimate practices can be performed and billed. The Prohibition of Medicaid Funding for Conversion Therapy Act would take several steps to combat the practice. First, it would legally define “conversion therapy” while ensuring that organizations which provide legitimate support to LGBTQ people are not at risk of losing funding. The bill would also ban the use of Medicaid funding for conversion “therapy” and ensure the practice is not paid for through the use of deceptive billing practices using CMS codes for mental and behavioral health.

The bill has been endorsed by The Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), National Education Association, PFLAG National, Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Council for Global Equality (CGE), National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), Third Way, True Colors Fund, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Family Equality Council, AIDS United, Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), National Black Justice Coalition, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, Equality California.

The bill is cosponsored by Representatives: Ted Lieu, Tulsi Gabbard, Mark Takano, Suzanne Bonamici, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Alan Lowenthal, Charlie Crist, Adriano Espaillat, Eliot Engel, Andre Carson, Raul Grijalva, Steve Cohen, Derek Kilmer, Michael Doyle, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Jimmy Gomez, Betty McCollum, Chris Pappas, Earl Blumenauer, Eric Swalwell, Paul Tonko, Gregory Meeks, Juan Vargas, Brian Higgins, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Jackie Speier, Mark Pocan, Pramila Jayapal, Alcee Hastings, Seth Moulton, Dina Titus, Norma Torres, James Himes, Bobby Rush, Julia Brownley, Dan Kildee, Adam Smith, James McGovern, John Garamendi, Joseph Kennedy, Nydia Velazquez, Doris Matsui, Mike Quigley, Tim Ryan, David Cicilline, Grace Napolitano, Bill Foster, Angie Craig, Shiela Jackson Lee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Scott Peters, Ilhan Omar, Jennifer Wexton, Peter DeFazio, Jerrold Nadler, Rose L. DeLauro, Susan Wild, Denny Heck, Debbie Watson Coleman, Barbara Lee, Jimmy Panetta, Robin L. Kelly, Anthony Brown.

ABOUT THE TREVOR PROJECT

The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.

MEDIA CONTACT

Kevin Wong
The Trevor Project
646.576.7044
[email protected]


Historic Package of Legislation Filed to Advance LGBTQ Dignity and Equality in North Carolina

Package includes the first-ever bill in North Carolina to protect LGBTQ minors from ‘conversion therapy’ and coincides with launch of Born Perfect NC coalition

RALEIGH – In a monumental display of support for LGBTQ people in North Carolina, state legislators today introduced three separate bills that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people living in every corner of the Tar Heel State.

Today’s historic package includes the Mental Health Protection Act, which would protect LGBTQ minors and disabled adults from the dangerous, debunked, and discriminatory practice of ‘conversion therapy,’ which is used legally in North Carolina by state-licensed mental health professionals to try to change young people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This life-saving legislation, introduced today for the first time in North Carolina, is supported by Born Perfect NC, a grassroots statewide campaign from Equality North Carolina and the Campaign for Southern Equality that is backed by a coalition of clergy, mental health organizations, faith groups, child welfare advocates and civil rights organizations.

The package also includes a full repeal of House Bill 142, the discriminatory bill that passed in 2017 purporting to repeal HB2, which provoked international outrage in 2016 because of its brazen efforts to bar transgender people from participating in public life. HB142 merely replaced the discriminatory measures in HB2 for similar anti-LGBTQ policies, including a moratorium on  municipalities from passing LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections and a permanent ban on local governments from passing policies protecting transgender people in restrooms.

Finally, the package includes the Equality for All Act, the most comprehensive nondiscrimination bill ever introduced in the state of North Carolina. The bill would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, education, credit, and insurance.

“This is a monumental day for LGBTQ North Carolinians and their loved ones throughout every corner of this state,” said Kendra R. Johnson, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina. “We have the opportunity to protect the youth of North Carolina, secure full protections under the eyes of the law and dissolve HB 142. This historic slate of legislation is a collective effort towards making life more equitable and safe for queer North Carolinians who deserve the basic dignity of living, loving and growing without the fear of prejudice or violence. Together, we can build a state that enables LGBTQ folks from all walks of life to prosper and show the world that North Carolina truly is a beautiful place to be queer.”

“As a survivor of the abusive practice of conversion therapy, the introduction of the Mental Health Protection Act, in support of LGBTQ youth provides clear evidence that change is coming to the South,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “Working toward the passage of this legislation is a priority to all of us at The Trevor Project as we work to protect youth in every state across the country. We look forward to supporting the efforts of the amazing collation of organizations, lawmakers, and advocates working tirelessly to protect the youth of North Carolina.”

“North Carolina is changing, as is the entire South, because of the courage and resilience of LGBTQ people and those who love and support us,” said Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. “Just a few years ago, North Carolina was the epicenter of anti-LGBTQ legislation. But we never stopped organizing, voting, having kitchen table conversations, and lifting up a vision of what’s possible when North Carolina comes together around our core values of hope, dignity, and fairness for all. Today’s historic show of support from North Carolina lawmakers marks an important milestone in the journey to full equality. We won’t stop until we get there.”

Equality NC and Campaign for Southern Equality are proud to support this crucial package of legislation as we collectively work toward building a safer, more inclusive and equitable North Carolina for all.

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Equality NC is dedicated to securing equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) North Carolinians. www.equalitync.org

Based in Asheville, NC, the Campaign for Southern Equality works for full LGBTQ equality across the South. Our work is rooted in commitments to equity in race, gender and class. www.southernequality.org

Born Perfect NC is the campaign to protect young people across North Carolina from “conversion therapy” and send the message that LGBTQ youth should feel safe, supported, and affirmed. www.bornperfectnc.org

ABOUT THE TREVOR PROJECT

The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.

MEDIA CONTACT

Kevin Wong
The Trevor Project
646.576.7044
[email protected]


Governor of Puerto Rico Signs Executive Order Protecting Youth from Conversion Therapy

San Juan, Puerto Rico — The governor of Puerto Rico today signed an executive order ending the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy on LGBTQ minors on the U.S. Territory. The order will require any institution seeking a license to practice medicine in Puerto Rico to provide assurances that they will not offer or perform conversion therapy.

This executive order will save countless young LGBTQ lives. The Trevor Project knows from research that rates of attempted suicide by LGBT youth whose parents tried to change their sexual orientation were more than double the rate of LGBT youth who reported no attempts to change their orientation. Suicide attempts for LGBT young people who reported both home-based efforts to change their sexual orientation by parents and formal change efforts by therapists and/or religious leaders were three times higher.

“We are grateful for Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló for taking decisive action to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “LGBTQ youth in crisis reach out to us every day, including young people from Puerto Rico, and this action will undoubtedly save young LGBTQ lives.”

ABOUT THE TREVOR PROJECT

The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.

MEDIA CONTACT

Kevin Wong
The Trevor Project
646.576.7044
[email protected]


Research Brief: Bisexual Youth Experience

Summary

This March marks the 6th Annual Bisexual Health Awareness Month. Bisexual youth comprise a substantial proportion of youth who are part of the LGBTQ community. An analysis of national data from the 2015–2017 Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) found that 7% of youth identified as bisexual, compared to 2% as gay or lesbian and 4% as not sure. Bisexual youth may be exposed to more stigma from both the majority population, for not being heterosexual, and by the gay and lesbian communities for not having exclusive same-gender relationships and attractions. Despite the prevalence of bisexual identities among youth, there is currently a lack of information on outcomes specific to bisexual youth in the United States. This research brief focuses on understanding mental health and victimization associated with bisexual youth using national data from the YRBS.

Results

Mental health disparities exist for bisexual youth, with almost half seriously considering suicide in the past 12 months. Nearly 2 in 3, (66%) of bisexual youth felt sad and hopeless for two or more weeks in a row in the past 12 months, compared to 27% heterosexually-identified youth, 49% gay and lesbian youth, and 46% of youth who were not sure of their sexual identity. Further, 48% of bisexual youth seriously considered suicide, 40% have made a plan for how they would attempt suicide, and 27% have attempted suicide.

More than one in three bisexual youth reported being bullied at school, and one in five reported being forced to have sexual intercourse. Among bisexual youth, 21% (24% female and 8% male) reported having been forced to have sexual intercourse. This is compared to 5% of heterosexually-identified youth (9% female and 2% male), 16% gay and lesbian (15% female and 17% male), and 12% youth who were not sure of their sexual identity (11% female and 13% male). Additionally, 36% and 30% of bisexual youth reported having been bullied on school property and electronically bullied, respectively, in the past 12 months.

Methodology

Beginning in 1991, the CDC collected data representative of students in grades 9–12 attending U.S. high schools through the YRBS. State, territorial, tribal, and large urban school districts that receive funding from CDC provide data representative of high school students or middle school students. Ongoing surveys, conducted biennially February–May of each odd-numbered year, is self-administered to youth in their schools. The current data are combined weighted national survey data from 2015 and 2017. Youth were identified as bisexual based on their response to the YRBS question “Which of the following best describes you?” with options: heterosexual (straight), gay or lesbian, bisexual, and not sure. The 2015 and 2017 YRBS national level data does not include questions focused on youth gender identities.

Looking Ahead

While previous large-scale studies on LGBTQ youth have included bisexual youth in their samples, they often fail to capture the unique stressors faced by bisexual youth and in doing so, further alienate an already vulnerable population. Our analysis of the YRBS data highlighted the increased rates of depressed mood, suicidality, and victimization among bisexual youth. These disparities could be due to fewer protective factors in the lives of bisexual youth (Saewyc et al., 2009) and the increased stigma thought to be faced by bisexual individuals (Callis, 2013) that were highlighted in theoretical and less representative work.

The Trevor Project remains committed to understanding and addressing the needs of bisexual youth across our research, advocacy, and crisis service departments. For example, over 34,000 youth took part in The Trevor Project’s own National Survey focused on better understanding the lives of LGBTQ youth. Our large sample size will allow us to further explore the individual needs of subgroups of LGBTQ identities, including bisexual youth.

References

Callis, A. S. (2013) The black sheep of the pink flock: Labels, stigma, and bisexual identity, Journal of Bisexuality, 13(1), 82-105, doi: 10.1080/15299716.2013.755730

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2015-2017. Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Available at: www.cdc.gov/yrbs. Accessed on March 12, 2019.

Saewyc, E., Homma, Y., Skay, C. L., Bearinger, L., Resnick, M. D., & Reis, E. (2009). Protective factors in the lives of bisexual adolescents in North America. American Journal of Public Health, 99(1), 110-7.

For more information please contact: [email protected]

Download the PDF


The Trevor Project Files Amicus Brief Defending Anti-conversion Therapy Law in Maryland

The Trevor Project filed an amicus brief today with the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in the case of Doyle v. Hogan to defend a statewide law protecting LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy. The amicus brief provides the Court and the public with The Trevor Project’s unique insights into the serious harms inflicted on LGBTQ youth by this dangerous and discredited practice.

The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States campaign works to introduce legislation to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy in every state in the country. The Trevor Project is invested in ending conversion therapy in every state because research shows that the rate of attempted suicide by LGBTQ youth whose parents tried to change their sexual orientation was more than double the rate of LGBTQ youth who reported no such attempts. For LGBTQ young people who reported both home-based efforts to change their sexual orientation by parents and efforts by therapists or religious leaders, the rate was three times higher. Once legislation is passed protecting youth from conversion therapy, it is just as important to defend these laws in court.

As argued in our amicus brief, The Trevor Project has a special interest in supporting the enforcement of ordinances prohibiting the practice of conversion therapy because many of the young people that The Trevor Project serves are survivors of conversion therapy or have a credible fear that their family members will compel them to receive conversion therapy.  Because The Trevor Project has witnessed firsthand the devastating impact that conversion therapy can inflict on LGBTQ youth, we can provide a unique and important perspective for the court regarding the potential harm of stopping enforcement of Maryland’s anti-conversion therapy law.

The Trevor Project was represented in this matter by pro bono counsel from Gibson Dunn, including Stuart Delery, Lora MacDonald, Corey Singer, and Dione Garlick.

Read the full amicus brief.


MA Rep Kay Khan: House of Representatives Passes Ban on Conversion Therapy

From the office of Representative Kay Khan, Massachusetts Legislature

Bill will bar state-licensed health providers from engaging in therapy aimed at changing the gender identity or sexual orientation of LGBTQ minors

BOSTON, MA – State Representative Kay Khan (D-Newton) joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass H.140, An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors. This legislation, also known as the “Conversion Therapy Ban Bill,” was introduced by Representative Khan, and co-sponsored by 116 state legislators.

“As a psychiatric nurse, the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, and a longtime advocate for LGBTQ rights, I am honored to sponsor H.140,” said Chairwoman Khan. “The bill is a commonsense measure to ensure medically sound, professional conduct by state-licensed health providers and to protect LGBTQ youth from being exposed to fraudulent, ineffective and very harmful practices. I thank Speak DeLeo for his support and swiftly bringing this bill to the House floor to protect the LGTBQ youth in the Commonwealth.”

Currently, state-licensed health providers are legally allowed to subject children, under the age of 18, to harmful and abusive conversion therapy practices to their change sexual orientation or gender identity. Such practices include, but are not limited to, efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex. Editor’s note: learn more about reporting on conversion therapy here.

A 2018 study found that the rate of attempted suicide by LGBTQ youth whose parents tried to change their sexual orientation was more than double the rate of LGBTQ youth who reported no such attempts. For LGBTQ young people who reported both home-based efforts to change their sexual orientation by parents and efforts by therapists or religious leaders, the rate was three times higher. Organizations like The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, are invested in ending conversion therapy in every state.

“As a survivor of the dangers of conversion therapy and former resident of the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts, today’s overwhelming vote in support of our LGBTQ youth is a moment I will truly cherish,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “Being a part of this legislation from its inception has been important to me as we work to protect youth in every single state across the country.”

The nation’s leading professional and mental health organizations universally condemn conversion therapy methods, which put youth at high risk of depression, anxiety and suicidality. The bill is supported by a large coalition of over twenty organizations in Massachusetts, including: MassEquality, the ACLU of Massachusetts, the Boston Bar Association, the Children’s League of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Psychological Association, Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, and more.

“It’s time to protect children by prohibiting the cruel and discredited practice of conversion therapy for minors,” said Arline Isaacson, Co-Chair of the Coalition to Ban Conversion Therapy for Minors.

The bill now moves to the Senate. If enacted and signed by the Governor, Massachusetts will become the sixteenth state, along with Washington, D.C., to ban conversion therapy practices aimed at changing gender identity and/or sexual orientation of LGBTQ minors.

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State Representative Khan has represented Newton in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1995. She was originally appointed by Speaker Robert DeLeo in 2009 to serve as the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities, and has served in this capacity ever since.

Contact: Amani Mansour, Communications Director to Chairwoman Kay Khan (617) 722-2011, [email protected]

ABOUT THE TREVOR PROJECT

The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.


Georgia House of Representatives Submits Anti-Conversion Therapy Legislation

Atlanta, GA — The Georgia Assembly has filed landmark legislation, the Youth Mental Health Protection Act (HB 580), to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy, which falsely claims to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill is sponsored by Representatives Matthew Wilson (Brookhaven), Mary Margaret Oliver (Decatur), Shelly Hutchinson (Snellville), Debbie Buckner (Junction City), Pat Gardner (Atlanta), and Karla Drenner (Avondale Estates). With its submission, Georgia joins 23 other states with active legislation working to prevent conversion therapy and 15 with enacted laws protecting youth from its harms.

“All children in Georgia should receive care that first, does no harm.  Conversion therapy has no scientific basis and contradicts the medical community’s understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Representative Matthew Wilson. “I am proud to sponsor this bill that helps ensure the safety of Georgia’s LGBTQ youth by outlawing this incredibly dangerous practice.”

Organizations like The Trevor Project and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are invested in ending conversion therapy in every state because lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth from highly rejecting families are more than 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than youth from accepting families. Being subjected to conversion therapy is often a particularly extreme form of family rejection.

“There is no question. Georgia must protect LGBTQ youth from the harms of conversion therapy,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “As The Trevor Project continues to hear from young Georgians in crisis, we know this legislation will save lives, and we’re committed to seeing it start a critical conversation in the Peach State.”

Conversion therapy is widely opposed by prominent professional medical associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“The Georgia chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is part of Converse, a coalition advocating for passage of HB 580, including Georgia’s medical and mental health professionals, children’s advocacy groups, LGBTQ organizations, and mental health and suicide prevention advocacy groups,” said Roland Behm, Board member, Georgia chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “The State of Georgia has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of all its children and HB 580 is a critical part of that protection.”

Converse seeks to ensure that Georgia’s children are safe and supported, and advocates for passage of legislation that prohibits mental health professionals licensed in Georgia from providing conversion therapy services to minors.

The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States campaign works to support legislation like HB 580 to protect LGBTQ people from conversion therapy in every state. 50 Bills 50 States is the largest grassroots campaign in the world endeavoring to protect LGBTQ youth from this dangerous and discredited practice. The organization partners with mental health associations, youth organizations, LGBTQ groups, student clubs, faith communities, and educational institutions in every state by sharing stories, mobilizing volunteers, and informing policymakers to promote the submission and passage of powerful legislation. People can sign up to join The Trevor Project’s effort to end conversion therapy by texting “TREVOR” to 40649.

Editor’s note: learn more about reporting on conversion therapy.

ABOUT THE TREVOR PROJECT

The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.

ABOUT AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

MEDIA CONTACT

Kevin Wong
The Trevor Project
646.576.7044
[email protected]