20,000 LGBT teenagers will be forced into so-called ‘gay cure therapy’ with a licensed healthcare professional before they turn 18, a study has found.
Researchers also discovered that 698,000 LGBT adults aged 18-59 in the US have endured conversion therapy.
The study, which was conducted at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, found that efforts to ban the hateful practice have had an effect on thousands of LGBT children.
New Jersey, California, Oregon, Vermont, Illinois, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada and Washington DC all now prohibit gay conversion therapy.
The study showed that 6,000 LGBT kids aged 13-17 “would have received such therapy from a licensed healthcare professional before age 18 if their state had not banned the practice.”
Bills to ban conversion therapy on children are pending in another 16 states.
Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin are all in the process of considering bans.
As well as the 20,000 LGBT children who licensed professionals will try to make straight, another 57,000 will receive gay cure therapy from religious or spiritual advisors before the age of 18.
Prominent organisations around the world have disavowed conversion therapy, which flies in the face of a consensus reached by medical, psychological and therapeutic groups.
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This includes the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association.
“Many professional health associations and the public support ending the use of conversion therapy on LGBT youth,” said Christy Mallory, the lead author of the study.
“Our research shows that laws banning conversion therapy could protect tens of thousands of teens from what medical experts say is a harmful and ineffective practice.”
Study author Kerith Conron, who is research director at the Williams Institute, emphasised the importance of educating people about sexuality and gender.
“With such a large number of teens at risk of conversion therapy, we must ensure that families, faith communities and service providers have accurate information about sexual orientation and gender identity and work to reduce stigma and promote acceptance of LGBT youth and their families,” she said.
Experts overwhelmingly agree that endeavours to cure sexuality are futile, misguided, and often actually harmful.
Attempts to force teens to repress their sexuality have been linked to depression, self-harm and even suicide.