Achieving LGBT Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Stop Psychological Abuse

Reptherpaybanner2Few practices have hurt lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people more than so-called “therapies” that attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender expression/identity.

These practices—often called “reparative therapy,” “conversion therapy,” “ex-gay therapy,” and “sexual orientation change efforts”—are inflicted on LGBT people by counselors and therapists, including state-licensed therapists, and are well known to cause long-lasting emotional trauma.

Most therapists understand that trying to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender expression or identity is harmful, wrong, and abusive. But, in every state, some therapists continue to engage in these dangerous practices, deceiving parents and causing LGBT youth to suffer lasting harm.

All the nation’s leading medical and mental health organizations have come out against these practices—which include the use of shame, verbal abuse, and even aversion techniques like electric shocks—saying they pose serious health risks, including depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, and social withdrawal, which can lead to suicide attempts.

In 2012, NCLR worked with Equality California to help draft and pass California’s Senate Bill 1172, which Governor Jerry Brown signed into law, making California the first state in the country to protect LGBT young people from these dangerous practices. The following year, NCLR worked with New Jersey legislators and Garden State Equality to pass the second bill of its kind, which Governor Chris Christie signed into law. NCLR is now working with leaders in several other states to pass similar legislation, and is also representing advocates in California and New Jersey to defend the laws against legal challenges by anti-LGBT organizations.

NCLR is committed to preventing licensed mental health professionals form subjecting young people to these dangerous practices wherever they are occurring. Together, we can put a stop to these abuses once and for all. We can keep families together and protect members of our community from being subjected to unnecessary pain.

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