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Just As They Are: Ending Conversion Therapy in Our Communities

Sat 10 AM | Landing

Carolyn Reyes

LGBTQ youth experience efforts to change their sexual orientation or gender identity as family rejection, resulting in negative health and mental health outcomes, including depression, substance abuse, and even suicide. But some mental health providers continue to subject young LGBTQ people to these practices — known as “conversion therapy” — even though they have been condemned by every major medical and mental health organization in the country. In this session, we will explore what is conversion therapy and how it manifests in our communities, the harms associated with conversion therapy, and what we can do to help put an end to these dangerous practices. We will also hear from a survivor about her journey from shame and trauma to freedom and healing.

Carolyn Reyes

Carolyn Reyes is Youth Policy Counsel at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), where she coordinates the Born Perfect campaign to end conversion therapy. She is a national expert on issues related to LGBTQ youth in child welfare and juvenile justice who has spent over two decades working on behalf of marginalized children, youth and families in various capacities, including children’s attorney, child welfare worker, children and family therapist, and school counselor. Carolyn received her J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law, her M.S.W. from San Francisco State University, her M.A. in Theology (Religion & Society) from Pacific School of Religion, and her B.A. from Wheaton College (IL).

272 Just As They Are

Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera

Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera is a 30+ year veteran of the LGBTQ and Labor movements. Lisbeth has extensive experience organizing and training at the intersections of sexual orientation, gender identity, and culture specifically as they relate to communities of color. Lisbeth has crisscrossed the country training workers and community leaders in organizing, leadership development, and community building strategies from a grassroots perspective. She has also done extensive work supporting LGBTQ leaders in America Latina.

Currently, Lisbeth, is the Director of Faith Outreach & Training at the Human Rights Campaign, where she works with people of faith across denominations to ensure we can be who we are, love who we love, and practice our faith free of judgement.

Lisbeth ia a biologist and sociologist by education, with a solid Jesuit and SND formation that makes her passions flare and her days move forward. Today Lisbeth lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, alongside her wife, Lisa Weiner- Mahfuz, and their chosen family, both human and furry!!

Justice Camp Pre-Festival Event
196 Lisbeth Melendez-Rivera Topic TBD
390 A Conversation with Lisbeth Melendez Rivera
272 Just As They Are

Deb Cuny

Deb Cuny is a Restorative Justice Coach in the Oakland public school system working to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. She is also an advisory member for the #BornPerfect Campaign to End Conversion Therapy. As a conversion therapy and “ex-gay ministries” survivor, Deb speaks out on behalf of the campaign appearing in national media outlets such as Huffington Post, The Guardian, VICE, New York Magazine’s The Cut, and Mashable.

After years of rejection from parts of the church, Deb has returned to her faith tradition graduating with an MDiv. from the Graduate Theological Union. Deb invests her time helping others heal from conversion therapy and spiritual abuse.

272 Just As They Are

Session #272

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