State Senator Brad Hoylman Releases Report on the Urgent Need to Protect LGBT Youth in New York from So-Called “Conversion Therapy”

New York, NY— Today, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D – Manhattan), released a report summarizing the findings from a May 15 legislative forum held in New York City to address the merits of legislation (S.4917-B/A.6983-B) to prohibit licensed mental health professionals from engaging in so-called “conversion therapy” with minors.

The findings of the report were drawn from the written and oral testimony of over two dozen panelists, including individuals formerly subjected to the practice of “conversion therapy,” as well as representatives from leading mental health professional associations, legal experts, members of the clergy, and LGBT advocates.

Several common themes arose during the forum, underscoring the need for New York State to enact legislation barring licensed mental health professionals from engaging in the practice of “conversion therapy.”

The key findings of the report include:

• “Conversion therapy” is practiced in New York State, including by licensed mental health professionals.

• The subjects of “conversion therapy” report that it was ineffective and degrading, and resulted in numerous negative outcomes including depression and suicidal thoughts.

• The unanimous consensus among major mental health professional associations corroborates the anecdotal evidence shared by “conversion therapy” subjects: the practice is ineffective and poses harmful and potentially life-threatening risks, particularly to minors.

• Mental health professionals and legal experts agree that legislation prohibiting licensed mental health professionals from engaging in “conversion therapy” with minors is an appropriate and necessary use of New York State’s ability to regulate professional conduct.

A short video of highlights from the forum is available here and the full report is available below. 

Sexual orientation change efforts, or so-called “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy,” remain legal in New York State despite being discredited by leading associations of health and mental health practitioners. The practice has been shown to have harmful long-term effects on the well-being and mental health of LGBT youth.

S.4917-B/A.6983-B, sponsored by Senator Hoylman and Assembly Member Glick, amends the education law by prohibiting sexual orientation change efforts by licensed mental health providers for children under the age of 18.  Professionals who violate the law face censure, suspension or revocation of their license, and/or a civil penalty of up to $10,000.