I spent my senior year of high school in conversion therapy. Not the electric shock kind that we see in movies - the kind that taught me I was an evil person who would go to hell unless I repented and changed my ways. The kind that led to self-hate, self-harm, and deep shame. The kind that would later become my complex PTSD diagnosis, and create a reality in which just seeing a church triggers anxiety - let alone having to actually enter one.
I went through this horrific experience right here in Albuquerque at a church that still stands today. To fully impart the negative impacts that conversion therapy has on my life would take much longer than this email; my traumatic experience impacts everything in my life, from the way I see myself and interact with others, to my physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. And, mine is just one of countless stories out there of the abuse and trauma of conversion therapy.
Research shows that conversion therapy is not only ineffective, but is severely harmful to those who undergo it. This message of familial and societal rejection has created a reality in which LGBTQ young people are
- 8 times more likely to have attempted suicide,
- 6 times more likely to report high levels of depression,
- 3 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and
- 3 times more likely to be at high risk for STDs and HIV than their non-LGBTQ peers.
Thankfully, I am in a position to help ensure that no more young people will ever have to endure what I did.
In 2017, EQNM will introduce legislation to ban conversion therapy in New Mexico. It's time we stop traumatizing our future generations, and send a clear message that being LGBTQ is not a disorder or something that needs to be repaired - it is something to cherish and celebrate.
Here's how you can help us:
- Share your story - are a you a survivor? Parent? Mental health practitioner? Faith leader? We want to hear from you.
- Sign our petition in support of banning conversion therapy, as well as our other policy initiatives for 2017.
- Become a sustaining member of EQNM so that we can fight for this critical change until we win.
Let's stop the shaming and brainwashing of our young people. Let's honor and love our future generations for exactly who they are and want to be. I am committed to ending the abuse and trauma that is conversion therapy, and I hope you will join me.