Congressman Lieu Announces Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act

May 19, 2015
Press Release

CONTACT: Jack d’Annibale | 202-330-1613

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles) introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act (TFPA), the first federal bill to stop so-called “conversion therapy.” Conversion therapy, which aims to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, has been proven to be ineffective and dangerous by the medical, educational, and interfaith communities. The TFPA 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. It only affects the for-profit conversion therapy industry, and contains important protections for religious liberty and freedom of speech.

“Three years after I authored the first statewide ban on conversion therapy in California, I am proud to introduce legislation on the federal level to combat this abusive practice,” said Congressman Lieu. “The truth is that being LGBT cannot be and does not need to be cured. The irony of the conversion therapy industry is that the same people who are telling LGBT kids that they’re diseased are the same ones conveniently offering a high-priced, high-risk, ineffective cure. Conversion therapy sessions and materials are incredibly expensive, costing families thousands of dollars and offering no results. It’s a dangerous scam, and the government must act to protect LGBT Americans from fraudsters who take their money and lie to them.”


Congressman Lieu worked with a broad coalition of human rights, health, educational, and interfaith partners to develop this legislation:

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

“Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is not an illness.  By attempting to change one’s identity, so-called ‘conversion therapy’ assaults the humanity of countless children and adults.  It’s not right.  And it must be stopped. With the leadership of Congressman Ted Lieu, California is leading the nation in protecting LGBT families from this harmful, fraudulent process.  I’m proud to join Congressman Lieu as a cosponsor of the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act to ensure that not one more person suffers through this abuse.” Click here for Leader Pelosi's full statement on the bill. 


Dr. Sandra G. Hassink, President - American Academy of Pediatrics

Click here for the full statement of support. 


Rick Zbur, Executive Director - Equality California

“Equality California applauds and commends Congressman Ted Lieu for his efforts to end 'conversion therapy,' the damaging psychological abuse practiced by some mental health professionals who falsely claim that they can change a person's sexual orientation or gender expression. The nation’s leading mental health associations have warned that there is no evidence that these treatments work and that they may cause significant harm, especially to vulnerable LGBT youth. That is why in 2012, California became the first state in the country to ban this dangerous practice when Equality California worked with Congressman Lieu to pass Senate Bill 1172. Equality California stands ready to assist Congressman Lieu and others at the federal level so that no one, regardless of where they reside, is subjected to these abusive and harmful practices.” 


David Stacy, Government Affairs Director – Human Rights Campaign

“This vitally important legislation has the potential to save countless lives across this country by helping to end a practice that uses fear and shame to tell LGBT people the only way to find love or acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are. We’re proud to work alongside Congressman Lieu and our partners to send a different message - a message of hope, acceptance, and love where such a demeaning and destructive practice isn’t promoted as useful therapy. Ending this harmful profit-making practice is something that all of Congress should be able to rally behind.” Click here for the full release.


Interfaith Alliance

Click here for the full statement of support. 


Los Angeles LGBT Center

"So called 'conversion therapry' only results in trauma, rejection and pain for LGBT people that ought to be encouraged to honor their authenticity. This quackery, rejected by every evidence-based medical association, does not belong in our system of mental health. LGBT people should be affirmed and be emboldened to achieve their full potential."


National Center for Lesbian Rights

“The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) applauds U.S. Congressman Ted W. Lieu’s introduction of the Therapeutic Fraud Act, the first nationwide bill that would protect LGBT people from the dangers of conversion therapy. Lieu announced the bill this morning at a press conference attended by survivors of conversion therapy, members of the mental health and medical community, faith leaders, and representatives from NCLR, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Sothern Poverty Law Center.

If passed, the Therapeutic Fraud Act would be the first nation-wide law to protect LGBT people, no matter who they are or where they live, from being defrauded by false and too often deadly promises that they can change their sexual orientation or gender identity.”  Click here for the full release. 


Mara Keisling, Executive Director - National Center for Transgender Equality

"So-called conversion therapy has no place in modern America and the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act is a critical first step toward ending this practice. The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act calls out 'conversion therapy' of trans, gay, lesbian, and bisexual people for what it is: deceptive and dangerous. And this bill asserts the government's authority to crack down and penalize deceptive practices 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." 


Catherine Hyde, Board Member and Regional Director, Mid-Atlantic - PFLAG National

"My family--along with thousands of other PFLAG families across the country--is grateful for Congressman Lieu’s leadership on protecting youth against the dangers of so-called conversion therapy, which has been condemned by every mainstream professional medical and mental health association. Sadly, my own family has first-hand experience with this dangerous practice: My husband and I, well-meaning as we were, tried for years to 'change' our child, and did so with the support of the mental health community. Instead of helping our young child, we did only harm, harm that we deeply regret to this day. It wasn't until we accepted our child that she began to relax into herself and bloom and grow. Seven years later we are still healing and growing as a family. We know from this experience that what LGBTQ youth need is the love, support, and acceptance of their parents, families, and friends, not to be told to change who they are. We believe that this proposed federal ban will go a long way toward protecting the well-being and wellness of  these most-vulnerable youth.” 


Rebecca Kunkel, Executive Director – School Social Work Association of America

Click here for the full letter of support. 


David Dinielli, Deputy Legal Director – Southern Poverty Law Center

“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. We know this is false, and we know that these lies harm LGBT people and their families. We commend Representative Lieu for this bold legislation. Nobody in this country should sell a cure that doesn’t work for a condition that doesn’t need fixing.” 

For more information about the bill, please visit