NCLR Settles Consumer Fraud Lawsuit over Conversion Therapy

February 26, 2019

Contact: Perry Sacks,, (917) 438-4619

SAN FRANCISCO—Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), along with co-counsel Arnold & Porter, announced a settlement in a lawsuit filed by their client, Kate McCobb, that alleged a California-licensed therapist subjected her to conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy has been discredited by every major medical and mental health organization—including the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and American Psychiatric Association—as dangerous and unethical. The settlement follows a California court ruling affirming that conversion therapy may constitute consumer fraud. Terms of the settlement are confidential.

“Being a young LGBTQ person can be an overwhelming and isolating experience,” said the plaintiff in this case, Kate McCobb. “I am relieved to have this case behind me so that I can focus on educating other LGBTQ people about the dangers of conversion therapy.”

Although the therapist denies liability in this case, he has stated that he shares Ms. McCobb’s view of conversion therapy.

“Conversion therapy has been shown to lead to increased risk of depression, substance abuse, and even suicide,” said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter. “Those across the country who continue to push the myth of conversion therapy should take note: you are engaging in consumer fraud, and we will stand with conversion therapy survivors and help them recoup every dollar.”

Although Ms. McCobb did not seek therapy because of her sexual orientation, the therapist nonetheless focused on her lesbian identity. According to Ms. McCobb, she was told that being a lesbian was unnatural and that she could change her sexual orientation. She was urged to change her appearance to be more stereotypically feminine, including losing weight, growing out her hair, changing her wardrobe, and wearing make-up, and to begin dating men.

“My firm took this case on a pro bono basis because conversion therapy isn’t just ineffective, it’s dangerous,” said Arnold & Porter Partner Jeremy Kamras. “Hopefully this lawsuit will help to end this practice by putting medical professionals on notice that, if they engage in harmful, discredited conversion therapy, they can be subject to civil liability.”

NCLR has been standing up for conversion therapy survivors for more than 20 years. In June 2014, NCLR launched the Born Perfect Campaign to End Conversion Therapy through litigation, public education, and legislation.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) was the first national LGBTQ legal organization founded by women and brings a fierce, longstanding commitment to racial and economic justice and our community’s most vulnerable. Since 1977, NCLR has been at the forefront of advancing the civil and human rights of our full LGBTQ community and their families through impact litigation, public policy, and public education. Decades ago, NCLR led the way by establishing the first LGBTQ Immigration Project, Transgender Rights Project, Youth Project, Elder Law Project, and began working to end conversion therapy through what is now the Born Perfect campaign.