An estimated 20,000 LGBT youth ages 13-17 will undergo conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional before the age of 18, according to a new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, reported on by MedicalXPress.
Also, approximately 57,000 youth will receive the treatment from a religious or spiritual advisor. These are the first estimates of U.S. youth at risk of undergoing conversion therapy before they reach adulthood.
The researchers also found that an approximately 698,000 LGBT adults in the U.S have received conversion therapy at some point in their lives, including about 350,000 who received it as adolescents, MedicalXPress reports.
“Many professional health associations and the public support ending the use of conversion therapy on LGBT youth,” said Christy Mallory, the state and local policy director at the Williams Institute and lead author of the study. “Our research shows that laws banning conversion therapy could protect tens of thousands of teens from what medical experts say is a harmful and ineffective practice.”
To date, nine states, the District of Columbia and 32 localities have laws protecting youth under age 18 from receiving conversion therapy from licensed health care providers. According to the study, 6,000 youth ages 13-17 would have received conversion therapy before they reached adulthood if their state had not banned the practice.