From HRC: BREAKING — HRC AND UCONN RELEASE GROUNDBREAKING SURVEY OF 12,000 LGBTQ TEENS NATIONWIDE: At press conference this morning, the HRC Foundation in partnership with the University of Connecticut released the largest-of-its-kind survey ever of more than 12,000 LGBTQ teenagers across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., revealing the persistent challenges so many of them face going about their daily lives at home, at school and in their communities. Said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin),“These harrowing statistics show the devastating toll rejection by family and peers, bullying and harassment, and apathy on the part of too many adults is having on America’s young people. When this administration rescinds guidance protecting transgender students, or when lawmakers attempt to grant a license to discriminate to schools, colleges, and universities, it further erodes the fragile landscape for young people across the nation. Now more than ever, it is crucial for each of us to do all we can to protect LGBTQ youth and ensure they feel valued, equal, and loved.” Read Amy Ellis Nutt’s (@amyellisnutt) piece on the survey in The Washington Post.
Findings from the report include:
• Seventy-seven percent of LGBTQ teenagers surveyed report feeling depressed or down over the past week;
• More than 70 percent report feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness in the past week.
The good news — 91 percent of youth report feeling pride in being an LGBTQ person, and 93 percent are proud to be a part of the community. And three out of five LGBTQ students say they have access to a LGBTQ student club, which has been shown to have a positive impact on the perceptions LGBTQ youth have of their school experiences and can provide support to those who may face hostile environments at home or in their communities. Read the full report here.
VICTORY! MARYLAND ENACTS LEGISLATION PROTECTING LGBTQ YOUTH FROM “CONVERSION THERAPY”
VICTORY! MARYLAND ENACTS LEGISLATION PROTECTING LGBTQ YOUTH FROM “CONVERSION THERAPY”: Maryland has officially joined the growing number of states and municipalities adopting critical protections for LGBTQ youth. “No child should ever be subjected to the abusive practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy,’” said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). “This dangerous and inhumane form of child abuse has no basis in science and is uniformly rejected by every major mental health and child welfare organization. Today, Maryland is a better place for countless young people thanks to the many advocates, allies, parents, and survivors who spoke out against this practice and urged their elected officials — Republicans and Democrats alike — to adopt these crucial protections.” Read more from HRC
Maryland Can & Must Put an End to the Dangerous & Inhumane Practice of Conversion Therapy
By Abbie Ellicott – https://www.arundelpatriot.org/2018/03/12/maryland-can-must-put-end-dangerous-inhumane-practice-conversion-therapy/
March 12, 2018
Research shows that conversion therapy poses significant risks for LGBTQ youth, including depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and suicide. Photo: Ulrik Skare
It is time to take action to protect children and families from the harmful practice of conversion therapy. Consider the case of Sam Brinton, who was subjected to conversion therapy as a 12-year-old boy after he disclosed to his family that he was attracted to a male friend. He underwent years of so-called “therapy” designed to eradicate his attraction to males.
After being subjected to a range of emotionally and physically abusive practices, including verbal intimidation, shaming, and the infliction of physical pain to his body via extreme temperatures and electric shock, Sam became suicidal, depressed, highly anxious, and avoidant of intimacy. He was still attracted to males but he learned to hide these feelings. It has taken Sam years to recover from his horrendous experience with conversion therapy.
Conversion therapy, sometimes known as ‘reparative therapy,’ or ‘sexual orientation change efforts,’ is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. In other words, it attempts to make LGBTQ youth heterosexual and gender conforming. It is based on the false assumption that being LGBTQ is abnormal or pathological. It has been proven to be totally ineffective, as well as harmful.
As a clinical psychologist who has been in practice for over thirty years, I believe it is time for the youth of Maryland to be protected from this dangerous practice. Psychotherapy must be a place of trust and safety where clients can explore all issues without judgment or bias from their therapist. Clients should never be treated in shaming, intimidating, or abusive ways by mental health professionals. As therapists, we must strive to do no harm, and conversion therapy is clearly harmful to youth. It is especially dangerous to young people, who have no protection against being subjected to these practices.
Research shows that conversion therapy poses significant risks for LGBTQ youth, including depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and suicide. The practice is condemned by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association. Research from the Williams Institute at UCLA indicates that an estimated 20,000 LGBTQ minors in states without protections will be subjected to conversion therapy by a licensed healthcare professional.
While conversion therapy is prohibited in ten states and the District of Columbia, it is still legal in Maryland.
Currently, there is a bill before the Maryland state legislature that would ban the practice of conversion therapy by licensed health providers to youth in Maryland. Sponsored by Senator Rich Madaleno (SB1028) and Delegate Bonnie Cullison (HB 902), the bill is strongly supported by the Human Rights Campaign, Free State Justice of Maryland, the Maryland Psychological Association, WISE of Anne Arundel County, as well as many other organizations that represent religious, mental health, and LGBTQ communities.
We urge you to contact your local representatives to express your support for the Youth Mental Health Protection Act. Take action to protect the vulnerable youth in our community and to ensure that children like Sam Brinton never have to experience the long-lasting physical and emotional trauma caused by conversion therapy.
Abbie Ellicott is a clinical psychologist in Severna Park.