Conversion therapy is thriving in Arizona

Dozens of people are unlicensed and still practicing a discredited therapy treatment to change someone's sexuality.

In this week's newsletter: How conversion therapists across the state practice without a license; A gay prom for our elders; Abuse of HIV positive people in ICE detention facilities; Indigenous Pride in Pinal County; And a new In-Queer-sitive game for the week!

"HEALTH COUNSELORS": According to data from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, licensed therapists make up only about a third of conversion therapists currently practicing in the United States. 

In Arizona, one organization has been tracking who they are.

Matthew Shurka, the co-founder of the Born Perfect program, which identifies conversion therapists, said his organization is tracking upwards of 90 people who practice the discredited treatment across the state. More than 60 of them are doing so without a license.

In partnership with KJZZ, listen to our story on how that's possible:

Without licenses, conversion therapists in Arizona operate with relative impunity.
A national organization is tracking more than 90 active conversion therapists in Arizona, majority dof whom do not have a license.

LOOKOUT'S TAKE: This piece is the last in our series on conversion therapy across the Grand Canyon State.

We've uncovered how one counseling center, Family Strategies, in Mesa was started by and currently run by conversion therapists. We also looked at how the terminology has changed over the past few years in an attempt to bypass laws.

But probably the strongest story that didn't get as much hype, was that the board that oversees the licensing of these people has yet to do anything about it. After our reporting, the agency in charge, The Arizona Board of Behavioral Examiners, still had not taken action against the people LOOKOUT identified.

State regulators consider conversion therapy “unprofessional conduct,” but so far have not prevented it.
Despite local counselors advertising different kinds of conversion therapies online, no one has been investigated for it.

We'll continue to keep an eye on this story, but if you or someone you know has experienced this, feel free to respond back to this email directly.


  • NAVAJO PRIDE: Navajo Nation celebrated their queer communities with a local Pride celebration that showed the tribe's long history of honoring 2-spirit people. AZ Mirror
  • HIGH MARKS: ValleyWise Health was named "LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equity Leader" for the sixth year in a row in the Human Rights Campaign's Equality Index. There are 33 medical facilities across the state also named in the report. Human Rights Campaign
  • PROJECT 2025: Haven't heard about the far-right plan to revamp America as a Christian nation? Take a look to learn more about how it will affect Arizonans. Copper Courier


  • HIV DISCRIMINATION: Immigrants who are HIV positive or LGBTQ+ experience a high rate of abuse, sexual assault and discrimination, a new study found. Verite
  • YOUTHS CHARGED: Four minors are being charged with aggravated assault after attacking two LGBTQ+ students at Michigan State University. WILX-10
  • COMMUNITY GROWTH: People identifying as LGBT have grown year over year, with 2023 being the highest number of adults who identified as such. Statista
  • ELDER PROM: For those who didn't get a chance to celebrate when they were younger, elder LGBTQ+ proms bring an opportunity to dance the night away with their sweethearts. Washington Post


Test your knowledge of this week in queer news! Answer the question below related to a story in this week's newsletter and get entered into a raffle to win LOOKOUT swag at the end of each month. The more times you play, the more chances you get to win!

What is the 2023 percentage rate of American adults who identify as LGBTQ+?

*Hint, it's in our national news section.

Submit your answer here

Last week's question: What is the name of the Presidential candidate from Indiana who local Senate candidate Mario Garcia was pictured with?

Last week's answer: Felipe Rios

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