Nearly 200,000 trans people have been through conversion therapy in the US
Thirteen and a half percent of all transgender people in the US have been through conversion therapy despite major medical organisations calling it ineffective and unethical, research has found.
Equating to some 187,923 trans people across all 50 states, the study found that the controversial practice of attempting to change a person’s gender identity was most prevalent in Wyoming and South Dakota.
Conversion therapy has been condemned by almost all major health association’s in the US, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Researchers used data from the National Center for Transgender Equality’s 2015 US transgender survey and UCLA’s Williams Institute to estimate that 13.5 percent of the US’s estimated 1.4 million trans individuals have been subjected to attempts to change their gender identity.
Published in The American Journal of Public Health, the study looked at how many trans people had experienced psychological attempts to change their gender identity from transgender to cisgender, in both their lifetime and between 2010 and 2015.
Dr Jack Turban, a resident physician in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the study’s lead author, told NBC News: “Our research team was extremely concerned to find that this practice, which is widely discredited by major medical organisations, was so prevalent.”
The researchers broke the data down by state, finding that trans people in Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana were the most likely to have experienced conversion therapy in their lifetime – with more than 20 percent of respondents in each state reporting they’d been subjected to attempts to change their gender identity.
The study also found that overall, five percent of trans people in the US reported exposure to conversion therapy between 2010 and 2015.
Turban told NBC that he hopes the findings will highlight the scale of the problem and encourage lawmakers to ban conversion therapy.
“In the past, some state legislators have argued that such bans are not necessary because gender identity change efforts do not occur in their state,” Turban said.
“Our findings show that this is false,” Turban said. “Transgender people in every U.S. state reported exposure to gender identity change efforts.”