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Advocacy

The Trevor Project Responds to Today’s Conversion Therapy Ruling from 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

BY: Josh Weaver
Image of The Trevor Project's logo

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit decided in the case of Otto v. City of Boca Raton that bans on LGBTQ conversion therapy violate the First Amendment. In a 2–1 decision, both judges in the majority who were appointed by the President.

Full statement from Amit Paley (he/him), CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people:

“Conversion therapy is fraud. No matter how hard you try, you cannot change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This so-called therapy has only ever proven to produce negative mental health outcomes and increase the risk of suicide. According to The Trevor Project’s research, LGBTQ youth who had undergone conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide as those who did not. That’s why this dangerous practice has been discredited by major medical associations and prohibited by several Florida localities. This misguided decision sends a terrible message to the LGBTQ young people of Florida, who want nothing more than to be respected for who they are. 

“It’s also worth noting that this decision is an outlier. All other federal appeals courts have upheld similar protections against conversion therapy. And 20 states and more than 80 localities have enacted similar laws with strong bipartisan support. At The Trevor Project, we will continue working to correct this wrong decision and to remind all LGBTQ young people that they deserve love and support.”

Research:

  • 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.
  • According to a new, peer-reviewed journal article by The Trevor Project published in the American Journal of Public Health, 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.

The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States campaign has partnered with Equality Florida and local advocates in support of these vital protections. 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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Conversion Therapy: What’s Happening in 2020?

Since 2012, 18 states and the District of Columbia have acted to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy — with Utah poised to become the 19th state in the coming weeks. That momentum looks to continue in 2020: the states of Florida, Missouri, Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia have already filed such bills for the 2020 legislative session, with Oklahoma, Minnesota, and others preparing to take action before the sessions begin. According to The Trevor Project’s research, LGBTQ youth who report having at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide…

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