April 1, 2019
James Michael Nichols | Equality NC | firstname.lastname@example.org | 919-829-0343
Adam Polaski | Campaign for Southern Equality | email@example.com | 610-306-7956
RALEIGH – New polling data affirms that an overwhelming majority of North Carolinians from every political affiliation support preventing licensed medical professionals from conducting so-called “conversion therapy” on LGBTQ minors and disabled adults.
A February 2019 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling and commissioned by Equality NC and the Campaign for Southern Equality, found that a supermajority of Republicans (87%), Democrats (75%) and Independents (78%) support protecting North Carolina’s young people from conversion therapy.
Overall, 80% of all polled respondents immediately stated that they think “conversion therapy” purporting to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity should be illegal on children under 18. Of the remainder who initially disagreed or had no opinion, more than half changed their mind after better understanding what the practice of “conversion therapy” entails.
Conversion therapy has been rejected by every leading professional medical and mental health association in the country, who have declared it unnecessary, ineffective, and dangerous to an individual's health and well-being. Tactics of the practice can include inducing nausea, vomiting, or paralysis while showing the patient homoerotic images; providing electric shocks; and using shame to create aversion to same-sex attractions. The devastating and long-lasting harms often lead to severe depression and even suicide. An estimated 700,000 Americans have endured “conversion therapy” in their lifetime, with half of these receiving the treatment as minors.
This profound display of bipartisan support comes on the heels of legislators introducing The Mental Health Protection Act (HB516/SB426), which would protect LGBTQ minors and disabled adults from “conversion therapy.” The life-saving legislation, introduced March 28 in the North Carolina General Assembly, is supported by Born Perfect NC, a grassroots statewide campaign from Equality North Carolina and the Campaign for Southern Equality that is backed by a coalition of clergy, mental health organizations, faith groups, child welfare advocates and civil rights organizations.
“Republicans and Democrats agree, it is time to protect North Carolina’s children from so-called ‘conversion therapy’ practices,” said Equality NC Executive Director Kendra R. Johnson. “It’s rare that we find bipartisan support around an issue in North Carolina, but I think we can all agree that we want the safest and healthiest future for our children.”
“The overwhelming bipartisan support demonstrated in this poll reflects the reality that people across North Carolina understand that no one can change something as fundamental as their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Allison Scott, Director of Policy and Programs for the Campaign for Southern Equality. “We know that support for the Mental Health Protection Act will keep growing because it protects our kids and just makes sense.”
The poll was conducted among 807 voters in North Carolina between February 6-7 by Public Policy Polling.
Based in Asheville, NC, the Campaign for Southern Equality works for full LGBTQ equality across the South. Our work is rooted in commitments to equity in race, gender and class. www.southernequality.org
Born Perfect NC is the campaign to protect young people across North Carolina from "conversion therapy" and send the message that LGBTQ youth should feel safe, supported, and affirmed. www.bornperfectnc.org