New York, 10 May 2023 – Pallas Partners (US) LLP filed an amicus brief on behalf of The Trevor Project, the American Federation of Suicide Prevention and the American Association of Suicidology in support of the State of Colorado’s duly enacted law prohibiting the practice of conversion therapy for minors. The practice of conversion therapy is banned in 23 countries globally and in 21 states across the U.S.
“Conversion ‘therapy’ isn’t therapy at all — and tragically, it causes children significant emotional and physical stress, greatly increasing the risk of suicide and other serious harms,” said Pallas Partner Shireen Barday. “Pallas Partners is grateful to partner with The Trevor Project, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American Association of Suicidology in raising awareness about the importance of ensuring that children are protected against such dangerous and discredited practices.”
Pallas Partners (US) LLP, along with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, is pro bono counsel to The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention organisation for LGBTQ young people, the American Association of Suicidology, the world’s largest and nation’s oldest membership-based suicide prevention organisation promoting the understanding and prevention of suicide and the support for those who have been affected by it through research, education, advocacy and community programs, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the nation’s leading suicide prevention organisation dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide through research, public education, community programs and advocacy. The Trevor Project oversees the largest national campaign to end the harmful practice of conversion therapy in the U.S. through legislative advocacy, litigation, public education and partnerships with community organisations, educational institutions, and faith communities.
“Substantial evidence shows that children subjected to conversion therapy are at risk of great harm, including a serious risk of suicide, which has resulted in an overwhelming consensus that licensed mental health providers should not subject minor patients to conversion therapy,” The Trevor Project brief states. The brief continues that “every leading medical and mental health organisation has issued policy statements cautioning therapists and parents that conversion therapy is unsafe and should not be performed on minors.”
The case is Kaley Chiles v. Patty Salazar, in her official capacity as Executive Director of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, et al., No. 1:22-CV-02287 (10th Cir.). The Trevor Project’s amicus brief can be found here.
Research consistently demonstrates that this so-called “therapy” is associated with poorer mental health outcomes and higher risk for suicide. The Trevor Project’s 2020 peer-reviewed article in the American Journal of Public Health found that LGBTQ youth who underwent conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide and more than 2.5 times as likely to report multiple suicide attempts in the past year compared to those who did not.
Additionally, The Trevor Project’s 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People of over 28,000 LGBTQ young people aged 13-24 living across the country found that 15% of LGBTQ youth reported being threatened with or subjected to conversion therapy, including nearly 1 in 5 transgender and nonbinary youth.
Practice of conversion therapy is also a major economic burden. A peer-reviewed study published in JAMA Pediatrics found the practice of conversion therapy on LGBTQ youth, and its associated harms – such as substance abuse and negative mental health outcomes, including depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts – cost the U.S. an estimated $9.23 billion, annually.