Is your child questioning their sexual orientation and gender identity? We’re glad you’re here to learn more. It’s entirely okay that you have questions or feel conflicted about your child and their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. You may even feel afraid about what this means for your child’s future or safety. We know that you only want what’s in their best interest, and we’re happy you’re here to learn about your options. You’re allowed to have questions and to feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed by this new part of your child’s life. That’s what we’re here for: to help you as you consider how to talk about this new journey and support the youth in your life.
In your search for resources, you may have heard about a practice called “conversion therapy,” which attempts to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Conversion therapy, sometimes referred to as “reparative therapy,” is a medically discredited tactic that not only limits people from accepting their identities but can also harm kids, young adults, and their families. While this may be a confusing or difficult moment for you, one-n-ten has resources to support parents like you.
What Is Conversion Therapy?
Conversion therapy is the fraudulent, discredited, and dangerous practice of attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation, often involving shame, verbal abuse, blame, and sometimes techniques that are physically harmful. This practice has been condemned and declared unethical by every professional health and mental health association, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Conversion therapy can lead to serious and even fatal consequences.
LGBTQ+ youth who underwent conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide and more than 2.5 times as likely to report multiple suicide attempts in the past year compared to LGBTQ+ youth who did not undergo conversion therapy.
Still, many families seek out these methods, hoping to receive valid treatment from licensed practitioners or at the encouragement of religious leaders, even when this type of counsel is proven to be very damaging to their child’s well-being.
While conversion therapy is often focused on changing a person’s sexual orientation, it may also use tactics that tell transgender or gender-questioning people that being transgender is wrong, or that they should transition back to their sex at birth.
Conversion therapy limits people’s options and outright condemns transgender people who live as their truest self. Instead, we want people to be supported as they navigate this incredibly personal journey with assistance from their doctors, family, and evidence-based healthcare methods.
one-n-ten is here to help you find healthy and supportive resources like the ones listed below, which provide the necessary tools to understand what the youth in your life may be experiencing. While this may be a confusing, or even difficult, moment for you, your loved one is counting on you to consider the best way to support them.
Conversion therapy made our son believe he was broken, that he had betrayed his family and his beliefs. He began to consider suicide rather than be who he was. This fraudulent “therapy” tore our family apart and almost ended a marriage of over 20 years.
— Glen T, father of a conversion therapy survivor
When I finally ended conversion therapy, I was able to accept myself instead of fight myself. Leaving conversion therapy meant that I was finally able to have the life my family and I dreamed of – a meaningful life with a successful career, fulfilling relationships, and the ability to fully participate in my community. 20 years later, I can truly say, I am happier than I could have ever imagined.
— Tyler A, conversion therapy survivor
Research shows that when families show acceptance of their LGBTQ+ child, such as sharing a message of love or acceptance to their child when they come out or talking with them about their identity, this behavior lessens the same risk factors that come with conversion therapy — depression, suicide, and substance abuse.
LGBTQ+ youth who report having at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year.
one-n-ten condemns any practice that attempts to change or condemn a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Instead, we want to provide kids, young adults, parents, and families with the resources they need to thrive, including suggested methods to show acceptance of your child, ways to discuss gender and sexual orientation with your child, and other materials on the dangers of conversion therapy.
one-n-ten offers many resources and spaces for parents, counselors, and other adults to come together to ask questions and accept the LGBTQ+ kids and young adults in their lives.
- We host a monthly Parents’ Group, where adults can enter a safe space to learn about one-n-ten’s programs and services and how to best support LGBTQ+ children. We know that everyone’s journey to living as their authentic selves is unique to them. Navigating one’s sexual orientation and gender identity/expression can be an empowering experience, but it can also be a confusing or difficult process for children, parents, and families. If you have any questions about Parents Group or want to join, contact Gina at email@example.com.
There are many resources available beyond the programs we have to offer at one-n-ten. Accepting the LGBTQ+ youth in your life can come with many successes and challenges, and we’d like to offer a medley of outside resources that guide you through this time.
Family Acceptance Project
offers research, posters, and resources on how to navigate family acceptance of LGBTQ+ youth.
is dedicated to providing support to LGBTQ+ people and their parents and families. They have resources for parents and families, including publications on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer youth, transgender youth, information on conversion therapy, and tips on how to talk about gender with your child.
The Trevor Project
is dedicated to providing support to LGBTQ+ youth and it hosts a 24/7 crisis hotline and chat feature and has resources on sexual orientation including how to help someone who is at risk for suicide, a guide to being an ally toward transgender and nonbinary people, and a resource linking conversion therapy and LGBTQ+ youth’s mental health.
is a project under the National Center for Lesbian Rights dedicated to ending conversion therapy and ensuring that every child knows that they are born perfect. They carry a medley of toolkits and resources geared toward LGBTQ+ youth, survivors of conversion therapy, and anyone interested in learning more.
If you or a loved one is in crisis or are thinking of harming yourself, call or visit one of the below resources:
Central Arizona Crisis Line
Crisis Text Line
Text START to 741-741
Call TrevorLifeline: 866-488-7386
Text “Trevor” to 202-304-1200
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline