“Conversion Therapy” is a term that refers to efforts to change someone’s sexual orientation or nonconforming gender identity or expression. Some people also use the terms “reparative therapy” or “ex-gay therapy.” The term Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) was more recently created as a way to address some of these efforts without using the word therapy. The idea was to distinguish these practices from what would normally be considered therapeutic. Nonetheless, SOCE is not the best term because it does not address efforts to change gender nonconforming behavior.
For a useful summary on current statutes, research findings, and the position of professional organizations towards conversion or reparative therapy, see the Human Rights Campaign's resource page, "The Lies and Dangers of Efforts to Change Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity." Another helpful resource is the website on conversion therapy created by the Counseling Program at Northwestern University, "In the Aftermath of Conversion Therapy, Counselors Offer Healing Support." We also encourage readers to visit NCLR's #BornPerfect Campaign website, which counters the assumptions behind conversion therapy. In addition, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a publication in October 2015, "Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth." Members of the Obama Administration also made a strong YouTube statement against conversion therapy.