Conversion therapy is a medically defunct practice that aims to change one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Currently, talk therapy is the most commonly used therapy technique, but some practitioners have also combined this with "aversion treatments," such as induced vomiting, shaming techniques and electric shocks.
Researchers estimate approximately 700,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults have undergone conversion therapy at some point in their lives, including about 350,000 who received treatment as adolescents.
It is also estimated that 20,000 LGBTQ youth currently between the ages of 13 and 17 will receive conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional before they reach 18, and approximately 57,000 will be subjected to the controversial practice from a religious or spiritual adviser.
Conversion therapy can be extremely dangerous and, in some cases, fatal. In 2009, the APA issued a report concluding that the reported risks of the practices include: depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, disappointment, self-blame, decreased self-esteem and authenticity to others, increased self-hatred, hostility and blame toward parents, feelings of anger and betrayal, loss of friends and potential romantic partners, problems in sexual and emotional intimacy, sexual dysfunction, high-risk sexual behaviors, a feeling of being dehumanized and untrue to self, a loss of faith, and a sense of having wasted time and resources.
The risks are even greater for youth.
The MPSW Examining Board is holding a public hearing today and taking public comments before they make their decision on whether Conversion Therapy should be considered unprofessional conduct in Wisconsin.
You can send your comments to the MPSW Examining Board in the following ways:
MPSW Examining Board
PO Box 8366
Madison, WI 53708-8366
firstname.lastname@example.org (Put MPSW Examining Board in the subject line)"
Sources: Team 19, Julie Moreau