A study released by a UCLA institute estimated that thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in the United States will undergo conversion therapy.
The UCLA Williams Institute, a UCLA Law think tank that conducts research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, estimates that more than 20,000 LGBTQ individuals between the ages of 13 and 17 will undergo conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional. Conversion therapy is a treatment intended to change an LGBTQ person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
The study also found that 57,000 youths will undergo treatment from a religious or spiritual advisor before reaching adulthood and 698,000 LGBTQ adults are estimated to have received conversion therapy at some point in their lives.
Nine states, including California, and the District of Columbia have banned conversion therapy by licensed health care providers or those who provide the therapy in exchange for payment. However, none of the bans apply to religious advisors who practice conversion therapy in a spiritual context.
Several national professional health associations, such as the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, have condemned the use of conversion therapy and called on federal and state legislatures to ban the practice.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act last year, which, if passed, would ban conversion therapy.