'Conversion therapy' increases suicide attempts by up to four times in transgender people

New study finds that transgender people exposed to gender identity “conversion therapy” before the age of 10 are four times more likely to have attempted suicide than the national average. 

Transgender flag flys in front of a blue sky

Though there have been many reports highlighting the negative impact and the adverse effects on mental health caused by so-called ‘gay conversion therapy’, a new report has been released detailing the negative outcomes of such ‘conversion’ efforts specifically in relation to gender identity.

Researchers examined survey data from 27,715 transgender adults to investigate the impact of such pseudoscientific practices on individuals exposed to them. The study published by JAMA Psychiatry found that those exposed to gender identity ‘conversion therapy’ before the age of 10 were four times more likely to have attempted suicide than those who had not been exposed to such practices. 

Furthermore 71% of the surveys participants recalled speaking to a religious adviser or secular therapist about their gender identity, and of those approached around 20% claimed these interactions involved efforts to change their gender identity from transgender to cisgender.

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Dr Jack Turban, the lead author of the study and a resident physician in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, explained the importance of the report as some continue to advocate for gender identity ‘conversion therapies’ for children. Speaking to NBC News Dr Turban stated; “We hope our findings contribute to ongoing legislative efforts to ban gender identity conversion efforts.”

As it stands, 18 states, along with the District of Columbia, ban the practice of ‘conversion therapy’ on minors as well as nearly every major health association in the US speaking out against the practice.

However, this report comes just days before New York City Council ended its ban on ‘gay conversion therapy’ just less than two years after the same council passed the law. On Thursday, September 12, Corey Johnson, gay, HIV Positive, speaker of the council, announced that the council would be repealing the ban on these practices, a move which, may be extended to the entirety of the state, though this is still undecided. 

Corey Johnson speaks to a crowd at New York City Hall regarding change to conversion therapy ban
New York City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, speaks at City Hall

Johnson explained the decision stating; “Obviously I didn’t want to repeal this. I don’t want to be someone who is giving in to these right-wing groups, but the Supreme Court has become conservative; the 2nd Circuit, which oversees New York, has become more conservative.”

As it stands, 18 states, along with the District of Columbia, ban the practice of ‘conversion therapy’ on minors as well as nearly every major health association in the US speaking out against the practice.

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