February 25, 2014 —— Today, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) launched newly expanded LGBT Equality Maps to include the latest information on laws protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth from harmful “conversion therapy” practices that attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equality Maps provide critical data and education to advocates, allies, policymakers, media and the public.
California and New Jersey have passed laws to prevent state-licensed mental health professionals from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity/expression of minor patients. Both states based the law on the unanimous consensus of the nation’s leading medical and mental health associations, which have determined that such treatments have no scientific basis and put youth at risk of serious harms, including anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Since its passage, California’s law, Senate Bill 1172, has been embroiled in court challenges. In August 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law; however, on February 3, 2014, the Ninth Circuit put the ban on hold for 90 days to allow a petition to the US Supreme Court. The New Jersey law also survived a legal battle when a U.S. District Court judge rejected a constitutional challenge late last year.
“Studies show LGBT youth are already disproportionately likely to face bullying, harassment and family rejection just because of who they are,” said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of MAP. “So-called ‘conversion therapy,’ further rejects youth and sets them up for failure through the futile and unnecessary exercise of trying to change who they are. Banning these hurtful and discredited practices, is an important step in protecting the most vulnerable members of the LGBT community.”
In a rapidly changing legal landscape, the Equality Maps offer essential information to policymakers and advocates. Next week, MAP will launch in collaboration with GLSEN updated Safe Schools maps to better distinguish between anti-bullying legislation, laws that protect against discrimination in schools, and harmful laws that prohibit protection of LGBT students.
The comprehensive and collaborative LGBT Equality Maps resource tracks LGBT equality, populations, and other data by state. They provide up-to-date information on the status of state laws across a wide range of issues, from employment discrimination and relationship recognition to hate crimes protections and anti-bullying laws.
High resolution jpegs, as well as all Equality Maps, are available for publication. The LGBT Equality Maps allow websites to embed the maps easily and for free. Maps are updated daily as changes in legislation occur. Visit lgbtmap.org/equality-maps to learn more.
Founded in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. www.lgbtmap.org