A new study on the effects of conversion therapy issued by the Department of Health and Human Services finds that the practice is dangerous and harmful for LGBT youth. The White House is underscoring the report as proof that the practice should be made illegal for minors.
The Obama administration backed a petition in April to ban the practice nationwide, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report gives further scientific backing to such calls.
“We believe that conversion therapy for young people is not in their best interest, and the facts and the evidence supports that,” White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said.
“We would support, and have supported, making it illegal for young people,” she told reporters, noting that adults “make their own decisions” when it comes to their health.
Four U.S. states and Washington banned the practice among minors and vulnerable adults as of August 2015, the report said, and 21 more states and Congress have considered or are considering bans.
“Conversion therapies or other efforts to change sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression are not effective, reinforce harmful gender stereotypes and are not appropriate mental health treatments,” said SAMHSA Special Expert on LGBT Affairs, Elliot Kennedy.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin joined in the administration’s call to ban conversion therapy for minors:
“Conversion therapy is child abuse and the Obama Administration has joined our call to ban its practice once and for all. This is dangerous junk science that uses fear and shame to tell young people the only way to find love and acceptance is by changing the very nature of who they are. Today’s new health report shows the extensive damage that so-called conversion therapy can cause and why it’s so urgent that we end it in all fifty states.”