Since 2001, Tami and I have supported Equality Utah and its mission of securing equal rights and protections for LGBTQ+ Utahns and their families. This year, Equality Utah is working to stop the damaging exercise of Conversion Therapy in Utah
For decades, too many LGBTQ+ youth have been subjected to the harmful practice of conversion therapy. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have already made conversion therapy illegal for state-licensed mental health providers. Conversion therapy is still being implemented in Utah County and Salt Lake County.
This year, Equality Utah is working with the Utah Legislature to ban conversion therapy. Passing such a prohibition has been a priority for Equality Utah as a way of combating the state’s suicide rates, which are the fifth highest in the nation. Utah’s high suicide rate is a crisis that needs attention, and prohibiting conversion therapy is an important step to address this crisis.
Studies have shown that this practice is ineffective and harmful. As a result, every large medical and mental health association has spoken out against it because there’s no evidence that “conversion therapy” creates any positive health outcomes.
According to the American Psychological Association, "conversion therapy" is dangerous because it can exacerbate distress and depression and cause negative self-image. Also, the Human Rights Campaignnotes that “minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.” In fact, in 2015, the White House recommended that conversion therapy be banned for minors.
A study done by the Williams Institute reports that nearly 700,000 LGBTQ+ adults in the United States have undergone this therapy at some point in their lives, about half of those as adolescents.
I’m proud to support Equality Utah in this important work.