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While these contemporary versions of conversion therapy are less shocking and extreme than some of those more frequently used in the past, they are equally devoid of scientific validity and pose serious dangers to patients—especially to minors, who are often forced to undergo them by their parents or legal guardians, and who are at especially high risk of being harmed.
In 2009, the APA issued a report concluding that the reported risks of the practices include: depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, disappointment, self-blame, decreased self-esteem and authenticity to others, increased self-hatred, hostility and blame toward parents, feelings of anger and betrayal, loss of friends and potential romantic partners, problems in sexual and emotional intimacy, sexual dysfunction, high-risk sexual behaviors, a feeling of being dehumanized and untrue to self, a loss of faith, and a sense of having wasted time and resources. Minors who experience family rejection based on their sexual orientation or gender identity face especially serious health risks.
Research shows that lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were more than eight times more likely to report having attempted suicide, more than five times more likely to report high levels of depression, more than three times more likely to use illegal drugs, and more than three times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.
Despite this consensus, some therapists continue to engage in these discredited and unsafe practices.
These laws are especially needed to protect minors, who are almost always forced or coerced to undergo conversion therapy.
This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expression, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender.