fbpx Something to Talk About Live: The Financial Cost of So-Called “Conversion Therapy” | Straight for Equality

According to a recent study, the economic burden of conversion therapy exceeds nine billion dollars annually in the United States. And yet, more than 500,000 LGBTQ+ youth were at risk of receiving this kind of discredited therapy in 2021. This episode of Something To Talk About Live, we will be discussing Jen Christensen’s article on CNN Health, “Conversion therapy is harmful to LGBTQ people and costs society as a whole, study says“ with Casey Pick, Senior Fellow for Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project and Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased and conversion therapy survivor. 

Something to Talk About Live is a series designed by PFLAG National’s Straight for Equality program to create conversation about LGBTQ+ issues. Each week we offer an article on LGBTQ+ topics and suggest a few questions you can use to lead a discussion with your ERG, community group, or PFLAG chapter.  

We hosted a conversation about this article as a part of PFLAG Connects and Something to Talk About Live on Thursday, April 28. Did you miss it? You can still watch it here  

Article: Conversion therapy is harmful to LGBTQ people and costs society as a whole, study says 

Source: CNN Health 

Author: Jen Christensen 

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Were you familiar with the concept of so-called conversion therapy prior to reading this article? If yes, were you aware that it has been discredited by every major professional association that deals with mental health? Why or why not? Why do you think the practice continues across the globe in spite of these bans?

  2. Do you think the economic impacts of conversion therapy will reach policy makers not previously swayed by the personal and mental health implications survivors have been sharing for decades? Why or why not?

  3. In the article, Sean Cahill from Fenway Health says that, “I think often parents, they're not trying to hurt their kids, or they think they're trying to help them.” Do you agree with this assessment? What can allies and advocates do to help parents understand the real harm of conversion therapy?   

Bonus read: Check out “What conversion therapy cost me”  which appeared on CNN.com, by Garrard Conley (whose memoir, Boy Erased, is New York Times Best Seller and critically acclaimed film) and the original research, Humanistic and Economic Burden of Conversion Therapy Among LGBTQ Youths in the United States, by Anna Forsythe, Casey Pick, Gabriel Tremblay, Shreena Malaviy, Amy Green, and Karen Sandman published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

About Our Guests:

Casey Pick, Senior Fellow for Advocacy and Government Affairs, The Trevor Project

Garrard Conley, author and conversion therapy survivor

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