Advocacy

Leading Suicide Prevention Orgs Ask Fed. District Court to Dismiss Challenge to Wash.’s Conversion Therapy Ban

BY: Trevor News
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The Trevor Project, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and American Association of Suicidology partnered in an amicus curiae brief to emphasize the importance of state laws addressing the strong association between conversion therapy and increased suicide risk.

NEW YORK, NY — The Trevor Project, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) united today to ask the US District Court for the Western District of Washington to dismiss a challenge to Washington State’s legislation protecting LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy in the case of Tingley v. Ferguson (No. 3:21-cv-05359-RJB). Read the full amicus curiae brief here.

“Conversion therapy is a dangerous practice that has been consistently associated with increased risk of attempting suicide, and the state of Washington was right to act to protect its young LGBTQ residents from these well-documented harms. We are hopeful that the court will dismiss this case quickly, as is called for by 9th Circuit precedent and common sense concern for the well-being of the young people this important law protects,” said Casey Pick (she/her pronouns), Senior Fellow for Advocacy & Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “According to a study by The Trevor Project, LGBTQ youth who have undergone conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide as those who did not. We are proud to join together with other leading suicide prevention organizations to make it clear that legal protections from conversion therapy help save young lives.”

The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth ages 13-24 across the U.S. found that 13% of LGBTQ youth reported being subjected to conversion therapy, with 83% reporting it occurred when they were under age 18. LGBTQ youth who were subjected to conversion therapy reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who were not. And these findings are reaffirmed in a peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project published in the American Journal of Public Health, which found that LGBTQ youth who underwent conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide and more than 2.5 times as likely to report multiple suicide attempts in the past year.

AFSP’s position statement on conversion therapy can be found here. AAS’s Research Division statement on the evidence of conversion therapy’s harms can be found here.

The Trevor Project, AFSP, and AAS were represented in this matter by pro bono counsel from Gibson Dunn, including Abbey Hudson, Shireen Barday, Emily Maxim Lamm, Bethany Saul, and Randi Brown. The parties were also represented pro bono by Denise Diskin of The QLaw Foundation of Washington and Isaac Ruiz of Ruiz & Smart, PLLC.

About AFSP

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.

About AAS

The American Association of Suicidology is the world’s largest membership-based suicide prevention organization. Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes the research of suicide and its prevention, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center professionals, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of laypersons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at www.suicidology.org

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