The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) launched a national campaign today to end so-called "conversion therapy," also known by the misnomers "reparative therapy," "ex-gay therapy," or "sexual orientation change efforts." The new #BornPerfect campaign aims at ending the detrimental practice of "conversion therapy" for youth in the next five years by passing laws across the country to protect LGBT youth, fighting in courtrooms to ensure their safety, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by these dangerous practices.
NCLR, an organizagtion that has been dedicated to expanding the civil and human rights of LGBT people for over three decades, has worked alongside California and New Jersey to draft and pass bills banning the practice of conversion therapy with minors. GLAAD intern Jacob Rudolph testified before the New Jersey senate to ban conversion therapy in 2013. These are currently the only two states in which youth are protected from conversion therapy, with active legislation in six other states and DC. Now with the launch of #BornPerfect, NCLR is working to provide legislators and LGBT leaders across the country with comprehensive resources, help to draft and pass legislation, raise awareness about the dangers of the practice, empower survivors to tell their stories, and fight in courts for the safety of LGBT youth.
NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell stated, “These practices have been thoroughly discredited by every major mental health organization, and yet, every day, unethical therapists continue to abuse their professional authority to deceive parents and wreck the lives of youth who deserve nothing but support.”
According to the American Psychological Association, conversion therapy is harmful to children and adolescents because it stems from the false belief that having same-sex attractions is a mental disorder. Children may see their inability to successfully change their orientation or gender identity as a moral failure, putting them at a huge risk for severe depression, alienation from their families, substance abuse, and even suicide. The American Psychiatric Association declassified being gay as a mental disorder in 1973, and the general consensus of all major medical and mental health associations is that conversion therapy is dangerous.
31-year-old Ryan Kendall, who went through conversion therapy as a teen, said in a statement:
My family and my faith had rejected me, and the damaging messages of conversion therapy, coupled with this rejection, drove me to the brink of suicide. I am lucky that I survived, but I will never be able to recover the years I lost to feeling worthless and suicidal because a therapist convinced my family that being gay is a mental illness and that who I am is shameful and wrong. These practices are child abuse, pure and simple.
Similarly, 34-year-old Deb Cuny, who also endured conversion therapy as a teen, said:
No child should ever be told that they are broken, pressured into being cleansed of evil that doesn’t exist, or forced to choose between being honest about who they are and being loved. I absolutely believe the #BornPerfect campaign is going to save lives and put a long overdue end to conversion therapy.
Watch this video posted by NCLR:
Head over to NCLR.org/bornperfect to check out the resources, learn more about the campaign and its legal progress, and connect with conversion therapy survivors. Ensure that this abuse ends and that every LGBT child knows they were #BornPerfect.