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Advocacy

Roeland Park Becomes the First City in Kansas to Protect LGBTQ Youth From the Dangers of Conversion Therapy

BY: Josh Weaver
Two young people holding hands and posing against a blue backdrop

Monday the Roeland Park City Council unanimously (7-0) passed a municipal ordinance to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy — making Roeland Park the first municipality in Kansas to pass such protections. The Trevor Project is proud to have worked with Equality Kansas to support this ordinance.

Thomas Witt, the executive director of Equality Kansas said, “Equality Kansas has made tremendous progress fighting for non-discrimination and other LGBTQ protections across Kansas, and after introducing state-wide legislation to protect our youth from conversion therapy – this year – we could not be more excited to see Roeland Park become the first municipality in Kansas to take action to end the practice within their borders.”

Sam Brinton, Vice President of Advocacy and Public Affairs for The Trevor Project said, “The Trevor Project is committed to protecting LGBTQ youth in every city across the nation from the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. We are so proud to see progress in Kansas. On a personal level, this means the world to me. As an alumnus of Kansas State University, I was a student organizer, fighting for LGBTQ dignity, and could barely imagine that progress could come so quickly to this state I called home. In these challenging times, we are grateful to the City Council for their leadership protecting LGBTQ youth.”

According to The Trevor Project’s 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Mental Health:

  • LGBTQ youth who had undergone conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who did not.
  • 42 percent of LGBTQ youth who underwent conversion therapy reported a suicide attempt in the past year.
  • 57 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth who have undergone conversion therapy reported a suicide attempt in the last 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.

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