Yes, you read that correctly. How is it possible that in 2022, there are still laws not only allowing but protecting the practice of conversion therapy? Aside from this being true, it is also preposterous and appalling beyond belief. According to Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky, a nonpartisan movement dedicated to protecting the youth from the tortures of conversion, more than 700,000 LGBTQ people have been affected by the terrors of conversion therapy. In addition, around 80,000 LGBTQ youth will undergo this unethical and improper therapy in the coming years.
Long Lasting Effects of Conversion Therapy
The attempt at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity by shaming tactics, causing emotional trauma, or in many cases, causing actual physical pain in the individual, so that they associate those feelings with their LGTBQ identities leaves lasting effects. Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky cites that in 2009, the American Psychological Association found that risks of conversion practices include “depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, and suicidality,” amongst many other adverse effects. More shockingly, “42% of youth who experienced conversion therapy report suicide attempts” (Trevor Project National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 2019).
What We Can Do Today to Help
Aside from holding no empirical evidence of success, having no support from the nation’s leading professional mental health associations, and being downright unethical, some progress has been made in the battle to ban conversion therapy in Kentucky. The “Youth Mental Health Protection Act,” or Senate Bill 137 (SB 137), has made its way to the Health and Welfare Committee in the Senate. Governor Andy Beshear endorsed SB 137 and its companion bill in the House (HB 12). While good progress is being made in the Senate, according to QueerKentucky.com, there are three easy ways you can help in this effort:
1. Call 1-800-372-7181 to contact Senators on the Health and Welfare Committee saying you support Kentucky’s kids and SB 137.
2. Call 1-800-372-7181 to leave a message for House leadership asking for HB 12 to be assigned to a committee.
3. Follow BCTK (Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky) on social media to stay updated with all the new developments and learn more about the names of House and Senate members who have co-sponsored the legislation.
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