Updated: Conversion Therapy and LGBT Youth
By Christy Mallory, Taylor N.T. Brown, and Kerith J. Conron
An estimated 16,000 LGBT youth (ages 13-17) will receive conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional before they reach the age of 18. Also, approximately 57,000 youth will undergo the treatment from a religious or spiritual advisor. Researchers also found that approximately 698,000 LGBT adults in the U.S have received conversion therapy at some point in their lives, including about 350,000 who received it as adolescents.
Conversion therapy is treatment intended to change the sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of LGBT people. It is grounded in the belief that being LGBT is abnormal. An estimated 10,000 LGBT youth have been protected from receiving conversion therapy in the 18 states that have banned the practice by licensed health care professionals.
Public opinion polls at the national level and in several states have found majority support for ending the use of conversion therapy on youth. A 2019 national poll conducted by Ipsos/Reuters found that 56% of US adults support making conversion therapy on youth by mental health practitioners illegal as compared to a minority (18%) who think that it should be legal.
This report updates a study originally released in January 2018.