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Lexington, KY Protects LGBTQ Youth from Conversion Therapy

BY: Josh Weaver
Illustration of LGBTQ young people dancing on clouds and plucking stars out of the sky.

WASHINGTON, DC — The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, commended the City of Lexington, Kentucky for passing an ordinance to protect LGBTQ youth from the harms of conversion therapy. Lexington becomes the third city in Kentucky to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy — building momentum for the passage of statewide protections. 

“This is an amazing victory for the LGBTQ youth of Lexington, who deserve to live their lives without fear of being subjected to the horrors of conversion therapy,” said Sam Brinton (they/them pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “The Trevor Project’s research demonstrates that this so-called ‘therapy’ has only ever worked to produce negative mental health outcomes and increase suicide risk. It’s time to expand these vital protections to all of Kentucky’s LGBTQ youth statewide.”

“We are incredibly proud to see Lexington continue to lead on LGBTQ rights,” said Chris Hartman, Executive Director of Fairness Campaign. “With Lexington’s ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ more than twenty percent of Kentucky’s population now lives in a city where children are protected from this deadly anti-LGBTQ torture. I am excited to see which city or county in our commonwealth will be the next to protect the lives of LGBTQ youth with a similar ban.”

Over the past few years, The Trevor Project has been proud to work with Fairness Campaign, Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky, and grassroots advocates from across the state in pushing for legislation to protect LGBTQ youth. The Trevor Project’s Protecting with Pride campaign elevates the ongoing municipal-level fight against conversion therapy through legislation and public education in cities and counties across the United States. 

According to The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 10% of LGBTQ youth reported undergoing conversion therapy, with 78% reporting it occurred when they were under age 18. Youth who reported undergoing conversion therapy reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not. Further, a peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project, published in the American Journal of Public Health, 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.

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. For journalists looking to learn more about how to cover the issue of conversion therapy, here is a guide on best practices. 

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