Born Perfect – NCLR’s campaign to end conversion therapy – hit the ground running on New Year’s Day, and 2023 looks to be a year of record progress against this fraudulent practice, which has inflicted devastating harm on millions of LGBTQ youth and their families.
At least four states have an opportunity to protect youth from this dangerous and discredited practice. NCLR’s Born Perfect campaign testified in favor of Minnesota’s new bill in January, and we are actively partnering with state and local groups to support legislation in Arizona, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
In Indiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin, we are fighting efforts by our opponents as they try to do the unthinkable and pass laws expressly endorsing and permitting therapists to engage in this unethical practice, which has been strongly condemned by every leading medical and mental health organization in the country.
Despite these challenges – and with bipartisan support – thirteen U.S. municipalities passed local measures against conversion therapy in 2022. Born Perfect will be working tirelessly to push that number higher in 2023.
Survivors connect with religious communities
We know that a significant percentage of conversion therapy happens out of reach of legislation at the hands of religious counselors and faith leaders. For that reason, engaging with religious families and communities is essential to protecting LGBTQ youth.
Born Perfect and DignityUSA, a national organization that focuses on supporting LGBT people in the Catholic Church, are sharing the experiences of conversion therapy survivors with Catholic families and religious communities in 2023. Through interviews, social media, and guidebooks, Born Perfect’s network of survivors from Catholic families is partnering with DignityUSA to educate churches about the harm that Catholics face from practices that offer no benefit and that cause deep depression, family strife, loss of faith, and suicidal thoughts.
Survivors educate media and medical schools
Following up on an earlier collaboration, Born Perfect is collaborating again with the makers of the documentary CURED in 2023 to work with medical schools. We are educating future doctors and counselors about the history of conversion therapy within the profession and, equally important, lessons learned from survivors and their families to keep our community healthy. And some of these med students have already had an impact!
In January, medical students testified in large numbers to support Minnesota legislation that would prohibit harmful conversion therapy by licensed professionals against minors – while social work students opposed legislation in North Dakota that would protect conversion practices from regulatory discipline.
Data helps persuade policymakers
As part of its lobbying for legislation, Born Perfect educates lawmakers about the prevalence of conversion therapy in their states and communities. Born Perfect works to identify and track conversion therapists in every state and municipality. The data is building momentum for ordinances and state laws across the country.
NCLR Legal Help Line protects survivors’ rights
NCLR’s Free Legal Help Line provides legal information and support to survivors of conversion therapy. The need is especially acute for transgender survivors who face severe discrimination. Our Legal Help Line can connect survivors with local and online resources as well as provide legal information and, in some instances, representation.
If you think you might need legal help, please call the helpline at (800) 528-6257 or (415) 392-6257.
NCLR defends laws protecting youth from conversion therapy in court
NCLR remains at the forefront of defending laws that protect youth from conversion therapy when they are challenged in court by anti-LGBTQ legal groups. Already in 2023, we’ve had two major victories. First, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected a legal challenge to Washington state’s conversion therapy law. We represented Equal Rights Washington in making the case that states have the authority and responsibility to protect kids from the dangers of conversion therapy. Shortly thereafter, a federal district court in Colorado rejected a challenge to Colorado’s law. NCLR represented One Colorado in supporting the law.
In the coming year, we will face unprecedented opposition as well as opportunities to make significant continued progress in building public understanding and support. Every day, more and more people become aware of the severe harm caused by conversion therapy and the need to protect and support LGBTQ youth. Your voice matters! Please join us in ending this deadly practice and creating a world in which every young person knows they are born perfect.