LOS ANGELES, Calif. — New estimates from the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law find that 1,000 LGBTQ youth who range in ages from 13-17 will be protected from conversion therapy by a licensed health care professional in the five U.S. states that passed bans on the practice in 2018 — Washington, Hawaii, Maryland, Delaware, and New Hampshire.
Currently, there are 14 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 40 localities, which have banned health care professionals from using conversion therapy on youth. Approximately 7,000 LGBTQ youth would have received the therapy from a therapist before they turned 18 if their state had not banned the practice.
“These statewide bans protect LGBT youth from a practice that numerous professional health associations consider harmful and ineffective,” said Christy Mallory, the state and local policy director at the Williams Institute. “Public opinion polls show overwhelming support for ending the practice of conversion therapy on young people.”
In January 2018, a study by the Williams Institute provided the first estimates of U.S. youth at risk of undergoing conversion therapy before they reach adulthood. In that study, researchers estimated that 20,000 LGBTQ youth would undergo conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional before the age of 18.
Approximately 57,000 youth will receive the treatment from a religious or spiritual advisor. State laws do not prevent religious or spiritual advisors from providing conversion therapy as long as they are acting solely in a spiritual capacity.
The researchers also found that approximately 698,000 LGBTQ adults in the U.S have received conversion therapy at some point in their lives, including about 350,000 who received it as adolescents.