New Survey Shows Need to Protect Transgender Youth From Conversion Therapy

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (December 8, 2016)—Today, the National Center for Transgender Equality released the findings of the U.S. Transgender Survey, the largest survey of transgender people in the United States.  Conducted in 2015, the anonymous, online survey examines the experiences of 27,715 adults from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as three U.S. territories and U.S. military bases overseas.

Among the findings is that 18%—nearly one in five—of transgender people who had contact with a medical professional about their gender identity reported that the professional tried to stop them from being transgender.  Transgender people who had these negative experiences were also more likely to experience psychological distress, to have attempted suicide, run away from home, been homeless, and have engaged in sex work than those who did not have the experience. The survey also found that 14% of transgender individuals—more than one in 10—who disclosed their transgender identity to their family were sent to a professional to stop them from being transgender.

“This groundbreaking report underscores the vulnerability of transgender youth seeking professional support and the need for policies and legislation aimed at protecting these youth from unethical and potentially damaging treatment by mental health professionals. It also highlights the critical role of family support in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of transgender youth,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Youth Policy Counsel and #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator Carolyn Reyes. “No young person should ever be shamed by a professional into thinking that who they are is wrong. Mental health professionals, in particular, should provide care that is ethical and affirming for transgender youth and that assists families in supporting their transgender children.”

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.


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 Statement on the Loss of Leelah Alcorn

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (January 2, 2015)—Vigils will be held in Ohio tomorrow to remember 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn and to raise support and acceptance for transgender youth.

Alcorn, from the Cincinnati suburb of Kings Mills, took her own life early Sunday morning after facing years of rejection and enduring the dangerous practice known as conversion therapy.

“We are deeply saddened by Leelah’s tragic death,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Youth Policy Director Shannan Wilber, Esq. “Like countless LGBT youth across this country, Leelah struggled with the anguish and isolation of navigating a world in which her core identity was erased and rejected. Despite the gains we have achieved in securing the equal rights of LGBT people in many arenas, too many of our children continue to suffer the ravages of intolerance and bigotry. They are rejected at home, bullied at school, and condemned at church. They are subjected to discredited and dangerous interventions designed to change their core identities. They are abandoned by the institutions charged with ensuring their safety and well-being. It is impossible to make sense of the senseless loss of a child. But this tragedy strengthens our resolve to create a world in which all children are cherished and supported to become their authentic selves.”

NCLR started its Youth Project more than two decades ago to ensure the safety and well-being of LGBT youth at home, in school, and in public systems of care through litigation, policy advocacy, and systemic reform. The project prioritizes full integration and affirmation of transgender youth, fair and equal treatment of LGBT youth in out-of-home care, and ending conversion therapy through NCLR’s #BornPerfect campaign.


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.