Protecting LGBTQ+ Youth from Conversion Therapy

Conversion Therapy is built on the idea that being gay or trans is abnormal and must be “cured.” The harmful practice is unregulated and performed without consent on LGBTQ+ youth across the country by religious advisors and licensed healthcare professionals. There are currently 698,000 LGBTQ+ adults in the U.S. that have gone through conversion therapy, 350,000 of which were children at the time of treatment.

“Protecting LGBTQ+ Youth from Conversion Therapy” seeks to use public records to gain a better understanding of the conversion therapy industry, governmental involvement in the practice and the scope of its harm on LGBTQ+ youth.

A January 2018 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law estimated that 20,000 LGBTQ+ youth between the ages 13 and 17 will undergo conversion therapy from a licensed healthcare professional before the age of 18. The study estimated that another 57,000 youth would receive conversion therapy from a religious or spiritual advisor. The Williams Institute study found that roughly 698,000 LGBTQ+ adults in the U.S. have gone through conversion therapy and 350,000 of them were children at the time of treatment. Though the issue is under-researched and public discourse on the subject is limited, there are vocal political proponents.

  • Blue = U.S. cities and counties that have bans on sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts with minors.

Image via Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

This investigation will involve locating and investigating private organizations that perform conversion therapy on minors, examining their incorporation documents and any public grants they may have received, finding potential governmental ties to “ex-gay” organizations through donations or communications, and finding consumer fraud lawsuits or FTC complaints made against organizations offering the treatment.

Using public records to understand conversion therapy uncovers a number of transparency issues. Aside from the lack of solid research, a large number of practitioners offer the services in private, in the name of ministries or religious denominations. It goes by many different names, making requests for information difficult. Many practitioners create their own unfounded methods. Also, many reports come first-hand from survivors of the versions of the treatment.

By fighting for more transparency we can gain a better understanding of the legislative, scientific and social repercussions of conversion therapy, informing future choices judicially and individually, and in the process, protecting children from harassment, shame, and abuse.

Image by Levi Saunders via Unsplash

3 Articles

FTC release records regarding the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act

FTC release records regarding the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act

In response to a FOIA request back in February, the Federal Trade Commission released 101 pages of documents regarding conversion therapy, a majority of which concern the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017.

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Help us track down private conversion therapy practitioners

Help us track down private conversion therapy practitioners

Last month, we launched our Protecting LGBTQ+ Youth from Conversion Therapy project, an attempt to use public records to learn more about the poorly-understood practice. But there are definite challenges to understanding the impact of conversion therapy in America, and we’re going to need help to get further into our investigation.

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MuckRock is launching the "Protecting LGBTQ+ Youth from Conversion Therapy" project

MuckRock is launching the “Protecting LGBTQ+ Youth from Conversion Therapy” project

A MuckRock project launching today, “Protecting LGBTQ+ Youth from Conversion Therapy” seeks to use public records to gain a better understanding of the conversion therapy industry, governmental involvement in the practice, and the scope of its harm on LGBTQ+ youth.

Read More

18 Requests

Awaiting Acknowledgement

Conversion Therapy

Joey Del Ponte sent this request to the Office of the Governor of Indiana

Awaiting Acknowledgement

Conversion Therapy

Joey Del Ponte sent this request to the Office of the Governor of Indiana

No Responsive Documents

1 file

Exodus International

Joey Del Ponte sent this request to the Federal Trade Commission of the United States of America