The Trevor Project Applauds Federal Court Decision to Let Conversion Therapy Ordinance in Florida Stand

Today, a federal district court in Florida refused to grant a preliminary injunction in the case of Otto v. Boca Raton that would have stopped the cities of Boca Raton and Palm Beach, FL from enforcing their ordinances protecting LGBTQ minors from conversion therapy at the hands of licensed mental health professionals.

“We’re glad to see a strong decision from the court recognizing the importance of laws protecting youth from conversion therapy,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “We were proud to file an amicus brief in this case sharing our experience of supporting LGBTQ youth who reach out to The Trevor Project for support because of the harms caused by conversion therapy. Today’s decision is in line with multiple other federal courts—including the Third and Ninth U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals—that have upheld similar laws, despite continuing attacks from pro-conversion therapy activists. We will continue to defend these laws, and fight for new bills, until LGBTQ youth are protected from conversion therapy in all 50 states.”

The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States campaign works to introduce legislation to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy in every state in the country. Because The Trevor Project has witnessed firsthand the devastating impact that conversion therapy can inflict on LGBTQ youth, we can provide a unique and important perspective for the court regarding the potential harm of granting a preliminary injunction stopping enforcement of Boca Raton’s anti-conversion therapy ordinance.

The Trevor Project was represented in this matter by pro bono counsel from Gibson Dunn, including Stuart Delery, Douglas Dreier, Lora MacDonald, Corey Singer, and Dione Garlick.


The Trevor Project Celebrates New York’s Gender Identity Protections

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act (GENDA) into law today, ensuring the basic rights of transgender, gender nonconforming and nonbinary New Yorkers will be protected under state law. GENDA prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in employment, housing, and public spaces, and updates New York’s hate crimes legislation. Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people, commented on the groundbreaking bill:

“Legal protection from violence and discrimination is part of building an inclusive society where everybody can thrive, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Brinton. “The passage of GENDA into law is a tangible sign of hope for the youth who contact The Trevor Project’s crisis intervention services every day. We are grateful to Governor Cuomo for his leadership in signing this important legislation.”


New York Becomes First State to Protect LGBTQ Youth from Discredited Practice of Conversion Therapy in 2019 Legislative Session

Albany, NY — New York today became the 15th state — and first state in this legislative session — to protect LGBTQ minors from receiving conversion therapy, the dangerous and ineffective practice that falsely claims to be able to change people’s sexual orientation and gender identity. Signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo this morning, the bills were introduced by Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Senator Brad Hoylman and quickly passed through the NY Assembly and NY Senate on January 15.

“Most Americans are shocked to learn that conversion therapy on minors is legal in any state, let alone New York,” said Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth. “We need to continue working with legislators in every state to make sure LGBTQ youth everywhere are protected from this form of torture, and today’s signing sends a clear message to young people that they are beautiful just the way they are.”

Nearly 700,000 LGBTQ adults have been subjected to conversion therapy, with 350,000 of them receiving the dangerous and discredited treatment as youth. That number grows by thousands each year as the Williams Institute estimates that nearly 80,000 LGBTQ youth will be subjected to conversion therapy in the next few years. However, based on the five states that passed anti-conversion therapy legislation in 2018, the Williams Institute also estimates that 1,000 youth will be protected from the practice.

“We are grateful to Assemblymember Glick and Senator Hoylman for introducing this important legislation, and to Governor Cuomo for signing it into law — cementing New York’s place as a leader in LGBTQ equality,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy & Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “We’re grateful for the governor’s efforts to end this harmful practice via regulation and now official legislation, sending a strong message to LGBTQ youth that they don’t need to fear being subjected to so-called ‘conversion therapy.’”

“It has been long been overdue for New York State to end the deplorable practice known as conversion therapy, especially given the escalation in attacks coming from this federal administration,” says Shijuade Kadree, Chief Advocacy Officer of The NYC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. “We are thrilled that our state electeds have finally demonstrated that they will step up to protect its residents, ridding us of a medically-discredited practice that targets the most vulnerable – our youth – simply for being themselves. New York has shown that when our federal government fails to protect us, states have the power and promise to advance progressive laws that create affirming spaces for all.”  

The Trevor Project works with national partners such as the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as well as state leaders like The Center to end conversion therapy. 34 states have historically introduced legislation to protect youth from conversion therapy; with NY today, 15 states have signed them into law. Conversion therapy is widely opposed by prominent professional health associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.People can sign up to join The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States campaign, the nationwide effort to end conversion therapy by texting “TREVOR” to 40649.

About The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the leading and only accredited national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under the age of 25. The Trevor Project offers a suite of crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as a peer-to-peer social network support for LGBTQ young people under the age of 25, TrevorSpace. Trevor also offers an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, a legislative advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and conducts research to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our TrevorLifeline crisis counselors are available 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. www.TheTrevorProject.org

MEDIA CONTACT:

Kevin Wong
The Trevor Project
646.576.7044
[email protected]


New Federal Survey Shows 2% of Us High School Students Identify As Transgender

The Trevor Project commends the CDC for counting transgender youth

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today released a report that shows almost 2 percent of high school students identify as transgender, and 35 percent attempted suicide in the past year. The research was included in the CDC’s latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR): “Transgender Identity and Experiences of Violence Victimization, Substance Use, Suicide Risk, and Sexual Risk Behaviors Among High School Students — 19 States and Large Urban School Districts, 2017.

Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people, commented on the importance of the report:

“The CDC’s new groundbreaking report shows that transgender youth exist in much greater numbers than researchers previously estimated1. By collecting data inclusive of gender identity, the report shows the very real health risks faced by transgender and gender non-conforming youth. The CDC’s findings highlight the need for even more policies to protect transgender and gender nonconforming youth, as well as additional support for LGBTQ-affirming organizations like The Trevor Project.

“The Trevor Project has worked with other groups for years to advocate for the CDC’s inclusion of transgender youth in its Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), and we commend them for acknowledging the needs of transgender young people in the only federal survey of youth health. Transgender and gender nonconforming youth contact The Trevor Project every day with questions about health, mental wellness, gender expression, and more. Now with inclusive health data that reflects the wide spectrum of gender identities, The Trevor Project can better inform its suicide prevention, risk detection, and response programs.

“We know the work is not over. This new YRBS data is game-changing, but still incomplete as long as only 10 states and 9 large urban school districts are choosing to ask about gender identity and expression. The Trevor Project will continue to educate and encourage decision-makers across the country to adopt the gender identity and expression questions in the next round of YRBS surveys. Only by understanding who our youth are and how they identify can we craft policies to allow every young person to thrive.”

The CDC released its latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey on June 14, 2018.

If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. Counseling is also available via chat every day at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting 678-678.

1 Previously, the Williams Institute estimated that .7 percent of youth ages 13–17 identify as transgender (2017).


Washington, D.C.’s ACT 22-573 Becomes First U.S. Law to Include Vulnerable LGBTQ Adults in Conversion Therapy Protections

Washington, D.C. — Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the “Conversion Therapy for Consumers under a Conservatorship or Guardianship Amendment Act of 2018,” also known as ACT 22-573, a bill that extends Washington, D.C.’s conversion therapy protections for LGBTQ youth to also include adults who are under the care of guardians or conservators. Conversion therapy falsely claims to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and is dangerous and discredited.

“Medical and mental health professionals condemn the practice of conversion therapy, which is why I previously banned the practice for minors: to protect them from the increased risk of depression, substance abuse, and suicide that is associated with this harmful practice. This bill now fills a further gap to ensure that conversion therapy cannot be forced on someone who is unable to provide consent. It is courageous to live an open, honest life — full of purpose and meaning. I see none of those values in these types of therapies and they must not be accepted in the District of Columbia,” said Councilmember Mary M. Cheh, Ward 3, the author of the bill.

With ACT 22-573, Washington, D.C. becomes the first to enact legislation that protects people over the age of 18 who are subject to legal guardianship from conversion therapy. The D.C. Council passed the bill unanimously on December 4, 2018, and it was signed by Mayor Bowser on January 16, 2019.

“Nobody should be subjected to the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. This is especially true of those, like minors or adults under guardianship, who are limited in their ability to consent to these so-called ‘treatments’,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “The Trevor Project was proud to offer testimony in support of this legislation, and we are grateful to the D.C. Council for acting to protect vulnerable LGBTQ adults.”

Nearly 700,000 LGBTQ adults have been subjected to conversion therapy, with 350,000 of them receiving the dangerous and discredited treatment as youth. That number grows by thousands each year as the Williams Institute estimates that nearly 80,000 LGBTQ youth will be subjected to conversion therapy in the next few years.

“With this measure, DC is leading the nation in protecting some of our most vulnerable LGBTQ people – those who despite their adulthood are not allowed by the state to make their own medical decisions. Far too often we’ve seen guardianship being used to prevent LGBTQ people from being who they are. This bill is a monumental step in the right direction and we hope other states follow DC’s example,” said Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán, Senior Policy Counsel for the National LGBTQ Task Force.

Conversion therapy is widely opposed by prominent professional health associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“This is an important step toward protecting the rights of LGBT people with disabilities. Guardians of disabled adults are often empowered to make medical and mental health decisions without the adults’ consent. This bill will ensure that, at least, those decisions won’t include forcing disabled LGBT adults into abusive and coercive ‘therapies’ that we know to be harmful,” said Sam Crane, Director of Public Policy for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States campaign works to support legislation like ACT 22-573 to protect LGBTQ people from conversion therapy in every state. People can sign up to join The Trevor Project’s effort to end conversion therapy by texting “TREVOR” to 40649.

About The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the leading and only accredited national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under the age of 25. The Trevor Project offers a suite of crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as a peer-to-peer social network support for LGBTQ young people under the age of 25, TrevorSpace. Trevor also offers an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, a legislative advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and conducts research to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our TrevorLifeline crisis counselors are available 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. www.TheTrevorProject.org

About the Autistic Self Advocacy Network

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run by and for autistic people. ASAN was created to serve as a national grassroots disability rights organization for the autistic community, advocating for systems change and ensuring that the voices of autistic people are heard in policy debates and the halls of power. Our staff work to advance civil rights, support self-advocacy in all its forms, and improve public perceptions of autism. ASAN’s members and supporters include autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, and non-autistic family members, professionals, educators, and friends.

About the National LGBTQ Task Force

The National LGBTQ Task Force is the oldest national LGBTQ advocacy group in the country that works to achieve equality and equity for all and move society to value and respect the diversity of human expression and identity. Also the Task Force organizes Creating Change, the foremost political, leadership, and skills-building conference for the LGBTQ social justice movement with over 3,500 attendees.


The Trevor Project’s Statement to the Supreme Court Decision on the Transgender Military Ban

“It is disappointing that the Supreme Court has elected to allow a ban on open service by transgender members of our armed forces to go into effect while the policy’s constitutionality has yet to be decided,” said Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project. “We want LGBTQ and especially transgender youth to know that this decision says nothing about their qualification to serve or their value as people. From the day the idea of a ban was tweeted, The Trevor Project has been pushing back, because we know firsthand the negative effects of the military ban on transgender youth. We also know the resilience and strength of the transgender community, and that their presence in our armed forces only makes our nation stronger.”

Previously:

The Trevor Project Responds: Administration Asks Supreme Court to Hear Transgender Military Ban Immediately

The Trevor Project Continues to Fight Trans Military Ban With Data


New York State Assembly and Senate Vote to Protect Minors from Conversion Therapy and LGBTQ People from Discrimination

The Trevor Project celebrates two bills that passed the New York legislature today that will protect LGBTQ youth from the dangers of so-called “conversion therapy” and discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression.

“The State of New York is sending a clear message today that LGBTQ youth are perfect as they are,” said Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project. “No one should face discrimination or the torture of conversion therapy because of who they love or who they are.”

NY Moves to Protect Minors from Conversion Therapy

Today the New York State Assembly and Senate both voted to protect minors from conversion therapy at the hands of licensed mental health professionals. When the bill is signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has indicated his strong support, New York will be the 15th state in the nation to protect LGBTQ youth from this dangerous and discredited practice.

“We are proud that the New York legislators have acted decisively today to protect LGBTQ youth from the harms of so-called ‘conversion therapy.’ We are grateful for Governor Cuomo’s leadership on this issue, and eagerly await his signature on this vital legislation,” said Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project. “As much as New York is renowned for being friendly to LGBTQ people, we at The Trevor Project know that thousands of young New Yorkers have made use of our suicide prevention and crisis intervention services in the last year alone. Conversion therapy-related issues come up frequently, and the stories these youth tell us about being forced to try to change who they are or who they love would break your heart. Today’s votes will save lives.”

“By passing this bill so early in the new year and with strong bipartisan support, New York is sending a powerful message that ending conversion therapy should be a priority,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “The Trevor Project is proud to be part of a strong coalition of people committed to ending this widely discredited and harmful practice. Thousands of local New Yorkers have contributed to the work of our ‘50 Bills 50 States’ initiative, and today they are seeing their efforts pay off.”

The Trevor Project’s “50 Bills 50 States” campaign works to introduce legislation to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy in every state in the country. People can sign up to join “50 Bills 50 States” by texting “TREVOR” to 40649.

Celebrating New York’s Gender Identity Protections

The New York State Assembly and Senate also both voted for Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act (GENDA), ensuring the basic rights of transgender, gender nonconforming and nonbinary New Yorkers will be protected under state law. When Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the bill, the state will protect these groups from harassment and discrimination in employment, housing, and public spaces.

“The Trevor Project is overjoyed to see New York state lawmakers come together to make a powerful statement of support for transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “Every day, The Trevor Project hears from youth who are afraid that being truthful about their gender identity will lead to discrimination or violence. Updating New York’s human rights laws to include gender identity will go a long way to ease those fears and allowing transgender people to simply live their lives like anybody else.”

If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. Counseling is also available via chat every day at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting 678-678.


The Trevor Project Joins Leading Civil Rights Groups on Amicus Brief Supporting Federal Hate Crimes Legislation

The Trevor Project, together with The Matthew Shepard Foundation, Freestate Justice, Lambda Legal, and the Anti-Defamation League have signed on to an amicus brief to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in defense of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA).

Since 2009, the HCPA has allowed the federal government to prosecute crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity as hate crimes, so long as those crimes had an effect on interstate commerce. Unfortunately, a District Court in Virginia recently overturned the conviction of an individual who admitted to viciously attacking his coworker because he thought he was gay, on the theory that “bias-motivated violence” is categorically “noneconomic” — even when the attack literally happened at an Amazon.com facility while the victim was simply doing their job, preparing to ship a package across state lines.

If allowed to stand, this narrow and clearly inappropriate interpretation would effectively erase important and groundbreaking federal protections for LGBTQ people. Hate-motivated violence against the LGBTQ community is a serious national problem, and one that LGBTQ youth worry about and discuss with us every day. In 2017, law enforcement agencies reported nearly 1,500 hate crimes motivated by gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation bias, a sharp increase over previous years — and those are just the crimes that were reported.

LGBTQ youth deserve to know that the law protects them in the strongest possible terms, which is why The Trevor Project is proud to stand with a powerful alliance of civil rights and anti-violence groups in defense of this important law. We are especially grateful to Freestate Justice for coordinating this brief.

“As we know from our work with our clients, LGBT people, in large part because the systemic and sometimes violent discrimination they encounter at work, experience poverty at disproportionately high rates. Although FreeState has worked hard to make sure that our Maryland state hate crimes law includes sexual orientation and gender identity, Matthew Shepard’s and James Byrd, Jr.’s law makes sure that protection extends to LGBT people and other vulnerable communities in all fifty states. The law carefully ensures that those who commit a hate crime in the workplace are held accountable; there is no doubt it was constitutionally applied here.” said Jennifer L. Kent, Managing Attorney, FreeState Justice.


The Trevor Project Responds: CDC Report Shows Increased Suicide Rates Lower U.S. Life Expectancy

The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ young people, responded to the CDC’s “Suicide Mortality in the United States, 1999–2017” report. Released today, the study is one in a series of three government reports and shows a drop in US life expectancy.

“Today’s CDC report highlights the significant increase in suicide rates over time, proving that it is a continued public health crisis. For 10 years suicide has been the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., but we know that young people, specifically LGBTQ youth, are particularly impacted. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for all young people. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, and nearly half of all transgender people have attempted suicide — many before the age of 25.

It’s now more important than ever to provide dedicated resources, in-depth research, legislation, and access to healthcare and education that supports LGBTQ youth and their wellness. The Trevor Project will continue fighting to save LGBTQ young lives, and will always be here for them to make sure they know that their life has value, and that they are loved and never alone.”
—Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director, The Trevor Project

If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. Counseling is also available via chat from 3-10 p.m. EST every day at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting 678-678 from Monday-Friday, 3-10 p.m. EST.


Florida Becomes First State to Introduce Legislation Protecting LGBTQ Youth From Conversion Therapy in 2019 Legislative Session

Tallahassee, FL — Florida State Senator José Javier Rodríguez introduced Senate Bill 84 (SB 84) to protect LGBTQ youth from receiving conversion therapy, which falsely claims to be able to change people’s sexual orientation and gender identity, from licensed mental health practitioners, on November 21, 2018. With SB 84, Florida becomes the first state to introduce legislation to end conversion therapy in the 2019 legislative session.

“In most states it is still legal to force children into conversion therapy and that is wrong. When it comes to this debunked practice, there is no conversion and there is no therapy. So-called conversion therapy does not work because youth are who they are. They should be supported rather than shamed. More importantly, the practice we seek to ban is not therapy.” said Sen. José Javier Rodríguez (D Miami) “The long-term, even lethal, damage it does to youth is well documented. If you’re going to be a licensed practitioner in Florida, refraining from harming our youth with this debunked practice should be a basic requirement.”

A poll released in 2017 showed 71% of Floridians support banning conversion therapy for minors. Twenty local governments in Florida – both cities and counties – have adopted conversion therapy bans, which is more than in any other state in the country.

“The Trevor Project is deeply invested in ending conversion therapy in every state because we know youth who experience rejection from their family are more than 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than youth from accepting families,” said Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth. “Conversion therapy is a profoundly dangerous form of rejection with no basis in medicine or science. Unless lawmakers act to end the practice in every state, countless LGBTQ youth will be subjected to forms of conversion therapy in the next few years.”“Conversion therapy is a deceptive and utterly discredited practice that targets some of the most vulnerable in our state – LGBTQ young people,” said Jon Harris Maurer, Equality Florida’s Public Policy Director. “It’s time to put an end this dangerous abuse disguised as medical treatment.”

Equality Florida applauds José Javier Rodríguez for filing this critical legislation that would protect young people from this fraudulent practice.

“We are grateful to Senator José Javier Rodríguez for kicking off what we hope will be another successful year in the fight to end conversion therapy,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy & Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States campaign works to support legislation like SB 84 to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy in every state in the country and we look forward to working with leaders and advocates in Florida to turn this bill into law.”

The Trevor Project works with national partners such as the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as well as state leaders like Equality Florida to end conversion therapy. 34 states have historically introduced legislation to protect youth from conversion therapy; 14 states have signed them into law. Conversion therapy is widely opposed by prominent professional health associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

People can sign up to join The Trevor Project’s effort to end conversion therapy by texting “TREVOR” to 40649.

About The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the leading and only accredited national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under the age of 25. The Trevor Project offers a suite of crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as a peer-to-peer social network support for LGBTQ young people under the age of 25, TrevorSpace. Trevor also offers an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, a legislative advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and conducts research to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our TrevorLifeline crisis counselors are available 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. www.TheTrevorProject.org