Safe and supported children
All children should receive care that first, does no harm.
The State of Georgia has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors. We are advocating for passage of legislation that prohibits mental health professionals licensed in Georgia from providing conversion therapy to minors. Conversion therapy includes a range of dangerous and discredited practices aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Conversion therapy has no scientific basis, contradicts the medical community’s understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity, and puts young people at risk of serious harm, including severe depression, anxiety, and substance misuse, which contribute to an elevated risk of suicide.
In addition to harming youth, licensed mental health professionals who offer conversion therapy are engaging in deceptive business practices by falsely claiming to be able to change the youth’s sexual orientation or gender identity without risk of harm.
According to the American Psychoanalytic Association:
Psychoanalytic technique does not encompass purposeful attempts to ‘convert,’ ‘repair,’ change or shift an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Such directed efforts are against fundamental principles of psychoanalytic treatment and often result in substantial psychological pain by reinforcing damaging internalized attitudes.”
Expressions of that psychological pain are manifest in the actions of children. A recent study found that attempts to change the sexual orientation of LGBTQ adolescents contribute to multiple health and adjustment problems in young adulthood, including higher levels of depression and suicidal behavior. Compared to LGBTQ young people who experienced no conversion therapy efforts, the study finds:
Suicide attempts nearly tripled for LGBTQ young adults who reported both home-based efforts to change their sexual orientation by parents and intervention efforts by therapists and other third parties.
High levels of depression more than tripled for LGBTQ young people who reported both home-based efforts to change their sexual orientation by parents and external sexual orientation change efforts by therapists and other third parties.