(EDGE) On Monday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the civil rights organization'a educational arm, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), 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. "
"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 NCLR Youth Policy Counsel and Born Perfect Campaign Coordinator Carolyn Reyes. "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."
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.
To read "Just As They Are," visit www.hrc.org/resources/just-as-they-are.