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The Trevor Project Applauds Supreme Court Turning Away Challenge to Conversion Therapy Bans

BY: Nicholas Turton

December 11, 2023 — The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ young people, released the following statement regarding news of the Supreme Court’s decision to not hear an appeal to a Washington State law prohibiting licensed health care professionals from practicing conversion “therapy” as it applies to minors.

Statement from Janson Wu (he/him), Senior Director, State Advocacy & Government Affairs:

“The Trevor Project applauds the Supreme Court’s refusal to review a decision by an appeals court upholding a Washington State conversion therapy ban, letting stand a hard-fought victory that enshrines protections for LGBTQ+ youth against this dangerous and discredited practice.

“The Court’s decision today to allow these protections to stand in place sends an affirming message to LGBTQ+ youth, their families, and survivors while honoring the victims we’ve lost to this abusive practice. Each time the question of whether these statewide protections are constitutional has reached the Court, the Supreme Court has consistently refused to intervene.

“Protecting LGBTQ+ youth from conversion therapy is not controversial, yet there remain too many states who have yet to enact legislative protections. Even with today’s victory, there is still a long road ahead to ending conversion therapy. We hope that lawmakers take the Court’s decision today as an opportunity to implement vital protections against this practice.

“The Trevor Project is committed to working with our partners, policymakers, and advocates across the country to finally put an end to this horrible and harmful practice — once and for all.”

Relevant Research:

The Trevor Project’s 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People found that 1 in 20 LGBTQ+ young people reported being subjected to conversion therapy, and another 10% being threatened with it. Additionally, 15% of LGBTQ+ young people cited the fear of being subjected to conversion therapy as a reason they did not seek out desired mental health care.

Further, a 2020 peer-reviewed study 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. Lastly, a 2022 peer-reviewed study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that the practice of conversion therapy on LGBTQ+ young people and its associated harms—including substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts—costs the U.S. economy a total estimated $9.23 billion annually.

Conversion therapy has been condemned by every major medical and mental health organization as unscientific, ineffective, and dangerous. And since 2012, 22 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted laws banning licensed professionals from subjecting minors to conversion therapy, and five more states—plus Puerto Rico—have implemented partial bans against it.

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