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‘Conversion therapy’ bans for minors weighed by the Supreme Court

'Conversion therapy' bans for minors weighed by the Supreme Court

‘Conversion therapy’ bans for minors weighed by the Supreme Court

A recent appeal to the Supreme Court involves the ban on “conversion therapy,” or the practice of changing someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, as part of the legal battle between religion and LGBTQ+ rights. The term will be tested in the legal battle between religion and LGBTQ+ rights. This article will discuss the latest news about conversion therapy. 

A controversial treatment

With the Supreme Court becoming more conservative and receptive to religious freedom appeals, the controversial practice of using “treatment” to make a gay or lesbian person straight has reemerged. It has been criticized for involving shock therapy, nausea-inducing drugs, psychoanalysis, and counseling.

Brian Tingley, a licensed family counselor in Washington state, is challenging the state’s ban on the practice for children under 18, claiming it violates his religious and free speech rights. He told the Supreme Court this year that the law “forbids him from speaking, treating his professional license as a license for government censorship.”

States have banned the practice for minors because it increases the risk of depression and suicide among LGBTQ+ youth. In Washington, churches and religious groups are not covered by the law, only licensed and regulated therapists are. 

According to Laurel Stine, chief policy officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, this practice is dangerous. “The Supreme Court has not taken up any of these challenges before, and we are confident that, if they do, we will win.”

As soon as Tuesday, the justices may decide whether to rule on the case or allow a lower court ruling against Tingley to stand.

What is Conversion Therapy? 

The purpose of conversion therapy is to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. In the medical and psychological communities, it has been widely discredited, and it is often seen as discriminating against LGBTQ+ people. This practice can seriously harm a person’s psychological well-being and constitutes a form of psychological abuse.

In addition to not working, it can also lead to:

  • Suffering from depression
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Use of drugs
  • Being homeless
  • Death by suicide

The practices may be violent or torturous in extreme cases. In some cases, conversion therapy is referred to as “reparative therapy” or “ex-gay therapy.”

Conversion Therapy: What Does It Look Like?

The methods can range from psychotherapy (talk therapy) to medical or faith-based approaches that are emotional or physical.


The most commonly used type is talk therapy. However, providers may also use behavioral, interpersonal, or cognitive therapies. In some cases, stereotypical male and female behaviors are taught or hypnosis is used to change thought patterns for same-sex attraction. Aversion therapy is another common method, in which people are exposed to painful or uncomfortable sensations, such as electric shocks and drugs that induce nausea or paralysis. The purpose is to “correct” the person’s attraction or identity by forming a negative association with them.


It includes medicines, hormones, or steroids. Sexual orientation can be “neutralized” through gender-affirming surgery in extreme cases. This occurs often among transgender people.


Often, clergy or other spiritual advisers perform conversion therapy on those who practice homosexuality or other forms of gender expression and identity. It is considered “evil” by some religious practices. Slurs and prayers that are anti-gay may be used. A severe case may also include beatings, shackling, food deprivation, and exorcisms.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed “gender identity disorder” from its diagnostic manual in 2013. According to the APA, conversion therapy techniques are now called “sexual orientation change efforts” and “gender identity change efforts.” These terms distinguish them from evidence-based therapies. However, providers, who are usually unlicensed, can disguise their terms to avoid detection.

These terms include:

  • SAFE-T (Sexual attraction fluidity exploration in therapy)
  • SSA (Eliminating, reducing, or decreasing frequency or intensity of unwanted same-sex attraction)
  • Reparative therapy
  • Sexual reorientation
  • Ex-gay ministry
  • Healthy sexuality
  • Sexual addictions and disorders
  • Sexuality counseling
  • Relational and sexual wholeness
  • Healing sexual brokenness

A History of Conversion Therapy

A German psychiatrist claimed at a conference in 1899 that he had transformed a gay man into a straight man.

Albert von Schrenck-Notzing boasted that 45 hypnosis sessions and a few trips to a brothel were all it took. He claimed to have manipulated the man’s sexual instincts through hypnosis, causing him to desire women in place of men.

He hadn’t realized for a moment that he was kicking off the phenomenon of “conversion therapy,” a collection of pseudoscientific techniques intended to silence LGBTQ people’s sexuality and make them conform to society’s expectations. In spite of being dismissed by the medical establishment today, conversion therapy was widely practiced throughout the 20th century, causing shame, pain, and self-hatred.

Which Places Have Banned Conversion Therapy?

Nearly 700,000 LGBTQ adults in the U.S. have undergone conversion therapy at some point in their lives. Approximately 350,000 of them received it as teenagers. While some states recognize conversion therapy as inhumane, ineffective, harmful, and discriminatory, others do not.

The use of conversion therapy is banned or limited in 19 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, especially for youth under 18.

The states include:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia

Local governments have also passed regulations prohibiting conversion therapy.

A total of 13 countries around the world prohibit or regulate licensed mental health experts from practicing conversion therapy, including Brazil, Norway, Argentina, and Germany.


Critics argue that the law and science are on their side when it comes to banning “conversion therapy.” The American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, National Association for Social Workers, and other leading medical groups have condemned this practice. Zolpidem online can be a dangerous purchase.

According to Casey Pick, director of law and policy at The Trevor Project, a nonprofit that promotes suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ young people, a statewide ban has been upheld by every court that has considered it.

“There is no reason the (Supreme) Court should not do the same here,” she said, “and ensure that LGBTQ young people across the country continue to be protected from unprofessional, unscientific, and deeply harmful practices.”

For more LGBTQ+ news, follow our Lifestyle Guide at LGBTQ and ALL.

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