American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Take Action: Protect LGBT Youth from Dangerous Psychological Abuse

Being gay is not a choice. There is nothing wrong with it.

Yet every day, youth in California are subjected to dangerous and abusive “treatments” by mental health practitioners who falsely claim that they can turn them straight.

These practices cause irreparable harm including increased risk of depression, social withdrawal, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide.

No youth should be told they are less than, or that they are not deserving of living a happy, fulfilled life.

Urge Gov. Jerry Brown to sign SB 1172, new legislation that would ban the practice of so-called conversion “treatment” for minors.

Sing the online petition at and leave a message at the goverornor’s office:

  1. Dial 916.445.2841
  2. Press 1 to continue in English.
  3. Press 6 to speak with a representative of Governor Jerry Brown’s office.
  4. Voice your support for SB 1172, the bill banning dangerous psychological abuse of minors.

The legislation is authored by Senator Ted Lieu (D-Redondo Beach), and co-sponsored by Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gaylesta, Mental Health America of Northern California, Lambda Legal, and the Courage Campaign.

During the Prop. 8 trial, AFER called to the witness stand mental health professionals to demonstrate the opposition to such practices:

“[T]he American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association…. the major professional mental health associations have all gone on record affirming that homosexuality is a normal expression of sexuality, that it is not in any way a form of pathology.”

– Gregory Herek, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Davis

We also heard moving testimony from Ryan Kendell, who talked about his personal experiences.

I was a 16-year-old kid who had just lost everything he ever knew. I didn’t really know what to do. I was very lost. And so the next few years I wandered in and out of jobs. I wandered in and out of attempts at school. I was incredibly suicidal and depressed. I hated my entire life. At one point, I turned to drugs as an escape from reality and because I was, you know, trying to kill myself. So, no, things did not get better.


During this whole thing, my life had kind of fallen apart. … And I just couldn’t take any more. And I realized, at one point, that if I didn’t stop going I wasn’t going to survive.

Watch Chris Colfer recreate Ryan’s testimony at the Los Angeles premiere of “8,” Dustin Lance Black’s play about marriage equality based on the actual court transcripts of the trial.

We need to protect LGBT youth in California from the dangerous psychological abuse of “reparative” therapy. Urge Gov. Jerry Brown to sign SB 1172.