In news that is simultaneously depressing, obvious, and now scientific, conversion therapy is shown to encourage suicide and suicidal thoughts in trans people.
Researchers looked at survey data from 27,715 transgender adults to examine the impact of the pseudoscientific practices, which are also known as ‘reparative therapy’ or ‘ex-gay therapy’. While previous reports have focused on conversion therapy specifically geared towards changing people’s sexual orientation, this study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, is the first to demonstrate a link between adverse mental health outcomes and gender identity conversion efforts.
Among other alarming discoveries, the study found that those who were exposed to conversion therapy during childhood, specifically before the age of 10, were four times more likely to have reported a suicide attempt than if they had not been. “This is important because some experts continue to advocate for gender identity conversion efforts for young children,” said the lead author of the study, Dr. Jack Turban.
Dr. Turban, a resident physician in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, made a statement about the report to NBC News. “We hope our findings contribute to ongoing legislative efforts to ban gender identity conversion efforts.”
One of his co-authors, Dr. Alex Keuroghlian, is also the director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Gender Identity Program. He has criticised the term ‘conversion therapy’ for being a “misnomer” as “it suggests that conversion efforts are a legitimate therapeutic practice.”
Increasingly, the harmful nature of conversion therapy is being exposed through popular culture such as films like The Miseducation of Cameron Post, though other depictions (such as an ill-considered plotline on Riverdale) have come under fire for undermining the gravity of a dangerous practice that is very much still prevalent today.
In the UK, conversion therapy has been condemned by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy as well as the NHS, though it has not yet been banned on a legislative level.
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.