Seattle Joins Growing Number of Jurisdictions Protecting LGBTQ Kids from Conversion Therapy

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (August 1, 2016)—Today, Seattle City Council unanimously voted to protect LGBTQ youth in the city from conversion therapy, making Seattle the 10th jurisdiction—along with California, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Vermont, Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, and Miami Beach, Fla.—to protect youth from this dangerous practice.

Today’s 9-0 vote protects LGBTQ youth from mental health providers attempting to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through practices that are linked to substance abuse, extreme depression, and suicide. Providers who violate the ordinance will be fined $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for each additional offense.

“We are grateful for the leadership of Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez in protecting LGBTQ youth and their families from the deceptive and harmful practice of conversion therapy,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Youth Policy Counsel Carolyn Reyes. “ Today, Seattle has taken a bold step to save children’s lives, and its children have received a clear message that they were born perfect.”

NCLR has been at the forefront of efforts to protect youth and their families from conversion therapy, and works closely with legislators and state leaders across the country to introduce bills protecting youth from these dangerous practices. In 2014, it launched its #BornPerfect campaign to stop conversion therapy across the country by 2019 by passing laws, fighting in courtrooms, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

In February, NCLR, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a historic federal consumer fraud complaint against a major provider of “conversion therapy,” urging the Federal Trade Commission to take enforcement action against the organization and all practitioners engaging in similar fraudulent advertising and business practices.


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

NCLR Launches Campaign Urging RNC to Reject Support for Conversion Therapy in 2016 Platform

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (July 15, 2016)—Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) calls on the LGBT community and the general public to urge delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention to reject the party’s proposed platform and work to end the dangerous and discredited practice of LGBT conversion therapy. Delegates to the convention, which is set to begin Monday, will vote on a platform that includes, among other extreme anti-LGBT provisions, a resolution approving the use of so-called “therapies” that attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Such practices have been condemned by every major medical and mental health organization across the country because they are known to lead to extreme depression, substance abuse, and suicide.

“Conversion therapy is fraudulent, dangerous, and anti-family,” said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter. “It is tragic that the RNC would consider endorsing this deadly practice, which has caused so much harm to young people and their families.  Parents need accurate, reliable information about how to love and support an LGBT child.  This proposal does just the opposite, encouraging families to reject their children and, in so doing, put their lives at risk. These practices destroy families and cause harms that may never be fully healed.”

NCLR is at the forefront of efforts to protect youth and their families from conversion therapy. In 2014, it launched its #BornPerfect campaign to stop the dangerous practice across the country by 2019 by working to pass laws, fighting in courtrooms, and raising awareness.

As part of this effort, NCLR has launched a Twitter campaign to urge delegates to help end conversion and reject it as a platform. Learn more about the campaign at www.NCLRights.org/StopHate.


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

Vermont Joins Growing Number of Jurisdictions Protecting LGBTQ Kids from Conversion Therapy

MONTPELIER, Vt. (May 25, 2016)—Today, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed Senate Bill 132 into law, making Vermont the eighth jurisdiction—behind California, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Washington D.C., and Cincinnati—to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangers of conversion therapy.

Senate Bill 132, which protects LGBTQ youth from mental health providers attempting to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through practices that are linked to substance abuse, extreme depression, and suicide, was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives in April. The law will go into effect July 1, 2016.

“We are thrilled that Vermont has joined the rapidly growing number of states leading the way to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy,” said the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Youth Policy Counsel Carolyn Reyes. “Vermont families can now have confidence that the mental health professional they turn to in times of uncertainty may not use their state license to profit from their children’s pain. Most importantly, Vermont children can now rest easy in the knowledge that they cannot be forced or coerced to undergo dangerous and discredited treatments to try to change who they are. Today brings us one step closer to the day when all LGBTQ youth know they were born perfect.”

Said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin: “No young person should be subjected to this extremely harmful and discredited practice, which medical professionals agree not only doesn’t work, but can also have life-threatening consequences. It is nothing short of child abuse. We thank Governor Shumlin and the Vermont State Legislature for prioritizing the well-being and safety of our nation’s youth, and remain committed to working with partners to ensure that this quackery is banned from coast to coast.”

NCLR, HRC, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, Pride Center Vermont, and Outright Vermont played a key role in organizing the coalition behind the bill. A broad range of groups supported Senate Bill 132, including national LGBTQ organizations and civil rights organizations.

NCLR and HRC are at the forefront of efforts to protect youth and their families from conversion therapy, and work closely with legislators and state leaders across the country to introduce bills protecting youth from these dangerous practices. In 2014, it launched its #BornPerfect campaign to stop conversion therapy across the country by 2019 by passing laws, fighting in courtrooms, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

In February, NCLR, HRC, and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a historic federal consumer fraud complaint against a major provider of “conversion therapy,” urging the Federal Trade Commission to take enforcement action against the organization and all practitioners engaging in similar fraudulent advertising and business practices.


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

NCLR Applauds U.S. Senators Murray and Booker for Introducing Bill to Protect LGBT People from Conversion Therapy

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (April 28, 2016)—Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Corey Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, a companion bill to HR 2450, introduced in the House of Representatives by Ted Lieu in 2015. The bill would define the provision of conversion therapy for profit as consumer fraud and, additionally, take Rep. Lieu’s bill one step farther by empowering states to take their own action against these dangerous and discredited practices. The senators’ move comes just two months after the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), along with partner organizations Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission encouraging the federal government to investigate conversion therapy as a violation of existing consumer fraud laws.

NCLR Youth Policy Counsel Carolyn Reyes said: “We are grateful for the courageous leadership of Senators Murray and Booker in the fight to end conversion therapy nationwide. This historic bill will protect the most vulnerable among us from exploitation by those fraudulently claiming to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, save countless lives, and send a clear message to every child across this land that they were born perfect.”

NCLR has been at the forefront of efforts to protect youth and their families from conversion therapy for more than two decades. In 2014, it launched its #BornPerfect campaign to stop conversion therapy across the country by 2019 by passing laws, fighting in courtrooms, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

NCLR, alongside HRC and state equality groups, has helped pass legislation in California, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington D.C.


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

World’s Largest Psychiatric Association Condemns Conversion Therapy

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (March 23, 2016)—Today, the world’s largest organization of mental health professionals—representing more than 200,000 people in 118 countries—called for an end to the discredited practice of “conversion therapy,” which is linked to serious harms, including depression, substance abuse, and suicide.

In a statement issued today, the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) says: “WPA believes strongly in evidence-based treatment. There is no sound scientific evidence that innate sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality can create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish, and they can be potentially harmful. The provision of any intervention purporting to “treat” something that is not a disorder is wholly unethical… Psychiatrists have a social responsibility to advocate for a reduction in social inequalities for all individuals, including inequalities related to gender identity and sexual orientation.”

“We are thrilled that the World Psychiatric Association has joined the chorus of national and international voices calling for an end to conversion therapy,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator and Staff Attorney Sam Ames. “Their announcement sends a clear message that these practices have no place in modern medicine and that policies that condone them engender hatred and endanger lives all across the globe. Today, we are closer than ever to the day when all LGBTQ youth are embraced by their families, supported by their communities, and given no reason to doubt that they were born perfect.”

Today’s announcement comes less than a year after the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released a groundbreaking report calling for all member countries to end conversion therapy. That report followed the UN Committee Against Torture’s historic decision to raise the issue as a potential violation of human rights just after NCLR delivered testimony at the 2014 review of the United States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also recently released a report, “Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth,” following independent statements by President Obama, Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy calling for an end to the practices.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) has been at the forefront of the movement to the end the practice. In 2014, it launched its #BornPerfect campaign to end conversion therapy by protecting youth from these practices through legislation and litigation and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Five jurisdictions—California, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Oregon, and Illinois—now protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy at the hands of licensed mental health professionals, with leaders from several other states working on similar legislation in the 2016 legislative session.

In February, NCLR, the Human Rights Campaign, and Southern Poverty Law Center filed a landmark federal consumer fraud complaint asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the false and misleading claims used by the conversion therapy industry.


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

Supreme Court Order Marks the End of Legal Challenges to New Jersey’s Ban on Conversion Therapy for Minors

By Chris Stoll, Esq.NCLR Senior Staff Attorney

On February 29, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review Doe v. Christie, a case challenging New Jersey’s law prohibiting state-licensed therapists from engaging in the discredited practice of conversion therapy with patients under 18 years of age. The Supreme Court’s order allows the law to remain in full effect and marks the final chapter in a nearly three-year-long series of challenges filed by Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBT legal group.

NCLR was proud to join Garden State Equality in asking the New Jersey legislature and governor to pass this life-saving legislation, and then to represent GSE in successfully urging the federal courts to reject this legal challenge and uphold the law.

At the time Governor Chris Christie signed the bill into law on August 19, 2013, New Jersey was the second state after California to pass legislation protecting against harmful efforts by licensed therapists to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity – practices that put youth at risk of serious lifelong harm, including depression, substance abuse, and suicide. Since that time, similar laws have been passed in Washington, D.C., Oregon, and Illinois, and NCLR’s #BornPerfect campaign is working with leaders in dozens of other states to bring the same protections to young people everywhere.

Wherever these laws have been challenged, NCLR has also stood ready to defend them in the courts. And we’ve been successful. Federal appeals courts have uniformly rejected legal challenges to these laws brought by anti-LGBT legal groups representing therapists, minors, and parents who want to preserve these outdated and dangerous “treatments.”

These federal court decisions rest on the common-sense principle that states have the power to regulate medical care to protect patients from treatments that are ineffective and risky. Just as a doctor or patient has no right to administer or receive untested or unsafe prescription medications, therapists have no right to engage in so-called treatments that do not benefit minors and expose them to serious risks of harm. Laws protecting minors from conversion therapy are based on a strong scientific consensus among medical and mental health professionals, and states have a right—and a duty—to make sure licensed therapists are not engaging in these harmful and discredited practices.