KYLP joins youth advocates across the nation calling for an end to dangerous practice of reparative therapy
The Kentucky Youth Law Project, Inc., along with our friends at the Children's Law Center and other state and national youth advocacy organizations, has signed on to a letter produced by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, supporting legislation to prohibit licensed therapists from administering so-called "conversion therapy," or "reparative therapy" to young people under the age of 18. Conversion therapy refers to a set of practices by mental health providers that purport to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. These harmful practices are based on the outdated and discredited notion that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) is a mental illness that can and should be cured. In fact, every mainstream medical and mental health association has rejected this claim as scientifically invalid, and has warned that these practices are ineffective and pose potentially serious risks of harm, especially to children.
The organizations which have signed this letter are committed to advancing the well-being of vulnerable children and youth, and to combatting practices that cause them harm. Virtually all young people encounter challenges as they navigate the treacherous terrain of adolescence in our complex culture. LGBT youth face additional hurdles coming to terms with their identities in unsupportive or even openly hostile environments. Family rejection, school bullying, and social isolation place LGBT youth at significantly higher risk of suicide, homelessness, sexual assault, substance abuse and incarceration. These risk factors are exacerbated when licensed professionals subject these young people to harmful interventions whose sole purpose is to strip them of their emerging identities.
State legislatures have a strong interest in ensuring that licensed mental health providers adhere to professional standards of care and refrain from engaging in ineffective and discredited practices that place patients at serious risk of harm. Laws prohibiting these practices are especially needed to protect minors, who are almost always forced to undergo conversion therapy by parents or legal guardians who do not understand that they are putting their children at risk of serious harm.
The Kentucky Youth Law Project calls on the Kentucky legislature to enact a law to curb these harmful practices known to produce lifelong damage to young people who need and deserve the Commonwealth's protection.
Additional signatories: Advocates for Youth, Center for Children's Law and Policy, Children's Law Center of California, Legal Services for Children, National Center for Youth Law, National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Pridelines Youth Services, and the Youth Law Center.
If you support legislation banning the harmful and ineffective practices known as "Conversion therapy" or "Reparative therapy," share this blog with your friends. Then call or write your legislators and demand that they support legislation to restrict licensed therapists from administering conversion therapy to young people under the age of 18.