Today, Congressman Lieu and 68 Members of Congress introduced theTherapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017 to stop so-called “conversion therapy.” Conversion therapy falsely purports to change an individual’s sexual orientation. It is wholly ineffective and causes serious harm to those subjected to it.
Mr. Lieu’s legislation amends the Federal Trade Commission Act to classify commercial conversion therapy and advertising that claims to change sexual orientation and gender identity as fraud. The TFPA would empower the Federal Trade Commission to enforce this legislation, and it would also open practitioners up to civil litigation.
In 2012, Congressman Lieu authored legislation in California that became the first state-wide ban on conversion therapy. Since that time, six additional states and several municipalities have enacted similar bans.
Upon introduction of the legislation, Mr. Lieu issued the following statement:
“Today, I am proud to introduce the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017 to ensure that no person is forced to undergo ‘conversion therapy.’ Conversion therapy isn’t only ineffective, it’s also dangerous. Yet, those providing it charge families thousands of dollars and suffer few consequences. It is time that we put an end to this scam and pass this legislation, sending a message that being LGBT cannot be and does not need to be cured.”
The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017 has been endorsed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights, PFLAG National, National Center for Transgender Equality, GLSEN, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of School Psychologists, School Social Work Association of America, American Counseling Association, Equality California, Los Angeles LGBT Center, National Association of Secondary School Principals, American Psychoanalytic Association, American School Counselor Association.
Southern Poverty Law Center – David Dinielli, Deputy Legal Director
“Conversion therapy is fraud, plain and simple. It is premised on the lie that LGBT people are ill or disordered and that they should be cured. The scientific community has concluded that it doesn’t work, and that it can cause serious harm by stigmatizing kids and blaming their families. It’s high time the federal government ban the sale of conversion therapy and we commend Representative Lieu for this bold legislation. Nobody should be permitted to dupe desperate kids and families into purchasing this dangerous quackery.”
National Association of School Psychologists – Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach, Past President
“The National Association of School Psychologists applauds and supports Representative Lieu and Senator Murray and their efforts to reintroduce the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act in Congress. The research has consistently demonstrated conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ persons not only to be completely ineffective but actually to be harmful to persons who have undergone conversation therapy. As school-based mental health professionals, we have legal, moral, and ethical obligations to optimize the mental health and the academic success of all students, including LGBTQ+ students; this bill will assist in these efforts.”
National Center for Transgender Equality – Harper Jean Tobin, Director of Policy
“Every young person should be accepted and support for who they are, not shamed or harmed for it. So-called conversion therapy has no place in modern America and the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act is a critical step toward ending this practice. This bill calls out this practice for what it is: deceptive and dangerous. The federal government has a responsibility to stop deceptive practices that are based on stereotypes rather than science. The National Center for Transgender Equality welcomes this bill and urges Congress to take swift action to ensure not another LGBT person is misled by damaging practices or forced to deny who they are.”
Human Rights Campaign – Chad Griffin, President
“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is nothing more than child abuse and those who inflict it on others must be held accountable. HRC thanks Senators Murray and Booker and Representative Lieu for their efforts to outlaw this dangerous and inhumane practice. Now more than ever, we must send a clear message to the LGBTQ community — and especially LGBTQ young people — that who you are is not something that needs to be fixed.”
American Psychoanalytic Association – Harriet Wolfe, President
“The American Psychoanalytic Association affirms the right of all people to their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression without interference or coercive interventions attempting to change sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Such directed efforts are against fundamental principles of psychoanalytic treatment and often result in substantial psychological pain.”
American Counseling Association – Richard Yep, CEO
“The American Counseling Association, the largest organized body of counseling professionals in the world, has concluded that conversion therapy is not only unethical, it does not work and can actually be detrimental to one’s mental health. We applaud Representative Lieu for his work on the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act and we fully support this legislation being enacted into law.”
Equality California – Rick Zbur, Executive Director
“A national consensus of professionals in education, health and counseling agrees that so-called ‘conversion therapy’ puts LGBT people, especially vulnerable LGBT youth, at risk of depression, self-harm and even suicide. In 2012, Equality California worked with Congressman Lieu to make California the first state in the nation to ban this dangerous practice and we are ready to help him at the federal level to ensure that all LGBT people across the country have the same protections.”
National Association of Secondary School Principals – JoAnn Bartoletti, Executive Director
“The men and women who lead our nation’s schools know well that fulfilling one’s potential begins by allowing students to be their genuine selves. By falsely asserting a student’s inherent disorder, conversion therapy diminishes a student’s value, compromise their ability to achieve, and ultimately robs the future of that student’s contribution.”
National Center for Lesbian Rights – Carolyn Reyes, Youth Policy Counsel
“We are proud to stand with Congressman Lieu, a longtime leader in the fight to end conversion therapy, and the courageous survivors who have been speaking out for years against these practices. This important legislation will not only put an end to profiting from peddling fraudulent claims about sexual orientation and gender identity, it will save lives by sending a clear message to every child in the country that no matter who they are or where they live, they were born perfect.”
American Academy of Pediatrics – Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, President
“All children and adolescents deserve the opportunity to learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. ‘Conversion therapy’ is harmful to children and can have lasting, detrimental effects on their emotional, mental and physical health. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act and its ban of conversion therapy, and we thank Rep. Lieu for introducing legislation to protect children and teens from this harmful practice.”