Yesterday (16th) the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, hailed a vote by Washington state’s House Committee on Health Care & Wellness advancing SB 5722 — legislation protecting LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy.’ HRC urged the Washington House of Representatives to pass the measure, which has already been approved by the state Senate.
“We thank the state legislators who voted today to advance this crucially important legislation protecting LGBTQ youth from so-called ‘conversion therapy,’” said HRC Legislative Counsel Xavier Persad.
“This abusive and inhumane practice has no basis in science and is uniformly rejected by every major mental health organization in the country. We call on the House of Representatives to swiftly pass this bill and send it to Governor Inslee’s desk to be signed into law.”
There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. To the contrary, research has clearly shown that these practices pose devastating health risks for LGBTQ young people, such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior. The harmful practice is condemned by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association.
Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, and Rhode Island all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this abusive practice. A growing number of municipalities have also enacted similar protections, including cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, New York, and Arizona.
According to a recent report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, an estimated 20,000 LGBTQ minors in states without protections will be subjected to conversion therapy by a licensed healthcare professional, if state lawmakers fail to act.
HRC has partnered with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and state equality groups across the nation to pass state legislation ending conversion therapy. More information on the dangers of efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity can be found here.