Screen Readers Skip to Content

Just As They Are - Protecting LGBTQ Kids from Conversion Therapy

Author: The Human Rights Campaign
Published: 17th Sep 2017
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: LGBT Adolescents Publications

Summary: Just As They Are - A critical new resource for parents on protecting their children from conversion therapy.


Main Document

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation has released Just As They Are, a comprehensive resource for parents on the harmful practice known as "conversion therapy."

The guide helps parents recognize when and how conversion therapy is promoted, provides information about the dangers of the practice, and outlines best practices for parents seeking to promote the health and well-being of their LGBTQ child, including finding inclusive counseling services and churches.

It features the voices of LGBTQ youth and young adults who have been subjected to this dangerous and debunked "therapy," including Lynse, a gender non-binary and queer former congregant at Ted Haggard's New Life Church, and Darren, a Black, gay, Christian man who once made his home in a church basement where he was forbidden from leaving without his pastor's permission. Their stories highlight the devastating harm that conversion therapy, along with family and community rejection, can have on LGBTQ young people.

"Parents need and deserve information and guidance they can trust when they are helping their children navigate issues around their sexual orientation and gender identity, not discounted theories and dangerous so-called therapies," said Mary Beth Maxwell, HRC Senior Vice President for Programs, Research and Training.

"Even as more families within all faith communities open their hearts and embrace their LGBTQ loved ones, in too many homes across the country, LGBTQ youth continue to face rejection, bullying, and the harmful impacts of 'conversion therapy.' We must redouble our efforts to educate families and communities about the terrible dangers of efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity and that is why we are proud to partner with NCLR to release Just As They Are - so that parents have the information and resources they need to protect the health and wellbeing of their LGBTQ children."

"The American Psychological Association has linked so-called 'conversion therapy' to depression, substance abuse and even suicide, and these risks are particularly acute for youth," said National Center for Lesbian Rights Youth Policy Counsel and Born Perfect Campaign Coordinator Carolyn Reyes. "That's why Just As They Are is so critical. We need parents to know the signs, to recognize harmful and discredited conversion therapies, and understand the gravity of what's at stake: the lives of our LGBTQ youth. All of our youth are born perfect."

There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

To the contrary, research has clearly shown that these practices pose devastating health risks for LGBTQ young people such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior. The dangerous practice is condemned by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association.

The report comes one day after World Suicide Prevention Day, when LGBTQ advocates raised the alarm that lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their non-LGBTQ counterparts, and a shocking 41% of transgender adults report having attempted suicide, most before the age of 25.

NCLR and HRC have partnered with state equality groups across the nation to pass state legislation ending conversion therapy. Rhode Island recently became the eleventh jurisdiction - and the fourth state so far this year - to enact these crucially important protections. Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, and New Mexico all also have laws or regulations protecting youth from this abusive practice.

To read Just As They Are, visit http://www.hrc.org/resources/just-as-they-are

Post to Twitter Add to Facebook

Latest LGBT Adolescents Publications

The above information is from our reference library of resources relating to LGBT Adolescents that includes:

For LGBTQ Youth Parental Support is Important thumbnail image.
A new study looks at parental social support and psychological control of depressive symptoms for LGBTQ youth in the United States.
Publish Date: 6th Mar 2023
Gender Dysphoria Rising in Youth - So is Professional Disagreement thumbnail image.
More adolescents with no history of gender dysphoria are presenting at gender clinics, especially in the US.
Publish Date: 24th Feb 2023
10% of Minors Seeking Abortion Must Pursue Court Approval, Many Are Denied thumbnail image.
U.S. states, including Colorado that have not banned abortion still do require those under age 18 to involve their parents before terminating a pregnancy.
Publish Date: 21st Jan 2023
LGBTQ Youth in Juvenile Correctional Facilities at High Risk for Suicide and Self-Harm thumbnail image.
A new study finds that LGBTQ youth are disproportionally represented in juvenile correctional facilities.
Publish Date: 29th Nov 2022 - Updated: 30th Nov 2022


1How Many Genders Are There?
Alphabetical list of gender identities.

2Transgender Reporting Guide
How to write about transgender people.

3Glossary of Sexuality Terms
Definitions of sexual terms & acronyms.

4Glossary of Sexual Identities
Definitions of gender related terms.

5Am I Gay? Questions to Ask
Think you may be gay or bisexual?

• Submissions: Send us your coming events and LGBTQ related news stories.


• Report Errors: Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.



• (APA): The Human Rights Campaign. (2017, September 17). Just As They Are - Protecting LGBTQ Kids from Conversion Therapy. SexualDiversity.org. Retrieved April 13, 2024 from www.sexualdiversity.org/sexuality/adolescent/794.php


• Permalink: <a href="https://www.sexualdiversity.org/sexuality/adolescent/794.php">Just As They Are - Protecting LGBTQ Kids from Conversion Therapy</a>