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Psychologists have long known the emotional costs of so-called LGBTQ 'conversion therapy.' Now we know the economic costs as well. 

5/20/22 | Matt Zdun


Pointing to the long-term negative emotional effects on LGBTQ youth, lawmakers in 20 states have banned the practice that has come to be known as "conversion therapy," the process of attempting to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Major medical organizations like the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization have all discredited the practice. 

Conversion therapy has been linked to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and even suicide. 




Recently, researchers also estimated the total economic cost of the practice. 

In a March study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, researchers estimated that conversion therapy can cost LGBTQ people as much as $83,000 in "lifetime excess costs." The study defines these costs as those that are associated with anxiety, depression, substance abuse and other negative outcomes. 

Nationwide, the total cost of conversion therapy adds up to about $9.2 billion per year, a number that could bolster efforts by lawmakers across the country in recent years to ban the practice. 

Here's how much conversion therapy costs each individual state.


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