Appeals Court Judges Reject Law Protecting LGBTQ Youth from Conversion Therapy

We are deeply troubled by the majority opinion of the 11th Circuit court of appeals.  The court reaches its decision by misconstruing the nature of therapeutic practice, disregarding the reasoned conclusions of medical experts, and contradicting legal precedent.

In response to the court’s ruling, Dr. Laura E. Durso, Executive Director of the Whitman-Walker Institute said, “It is well-established that conversion therapy is harmful to LGBTQ people and dangerous to LGBTQ children, which is why every major medical and mental health organization has decried this illegitimate and discriminatory practice. The idea that governments cannot take action to prevent harm until more research is conducted is a willful and unethical disregard of the science as well as the lived experiences of the thousands of LGBTQ people who have been subjected to conversion therapy.”

The court’s holding ignores the well-established harms of conversion therapy and places minors at risk of harm. In contradiction to precedent, the court dismisses the government’s compelling interest in protecting children and disregards the legislature’s narrowly-tailored approach of regulating licensed practitioners. The court’s insufficient reasoning and half-hearted legal analysis are a danger to vulnerable LGBTQ children. This dangerous ruling is particularly stark today, on Transgender Day of Remembrance/Resilience.

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