A recent study from the Family Acceptance Project has found that young LGBT people who experience sexual orientation change efforts during adolescence report attempts to change their sexual orientation (often called “conversion therapy”) both by their parents and by therapists and religious leaders. In Utah, conversion therapy practices are still legal — and yet, seemingly obvious, are rarely reported by LGBT Utahns subjected to them.
Dr. Caitlin Ryan, director of FAP at San Francisco State University says in the report, “Although parents and religious leaders who try to change a child’s LGBT identity may be motivated by attempts to ‘protect’ their children, these rejecting behaviors instead undermine an LGBT child’s sense of self-worth, contribute to self-destructive behaviors that significantly increase risk and inhibit self-care which includes constricting their ability to make a living. That’s why we developed a family support model to help diverse families learn to support their LGBT children that we’re integrating with behavioral health, out-of-home care, primary care and pastoral care in communities across the country.”
Joining in the efforts of FAP is Encircle, a Utah-based LGBT+ youth and family resource center. The center’s CEO, Stephenie Larsen adds, “We founded Encircle to provide an accepting environment where LGBT youth can receive a range of supportive services, including quality mental health care, and also a place where parents and families can learn to support their children’s sexual orientation and gender identity in culturally affirming ways. The Family Acceptance Project’s latest study shows how deeply rooted efforts are to change LGBT youth, how great the personal cost and how vital our services are to nurture their positive development — just as they are. Engaging families is not only important but life-saving, particularly here in Utah.”
To read more from the study go to sciencedaily.com.