With Governor Ige’s signature, Hawaii joins the growing number of states and municipalities adopting critical protections for LGBTQ youth. Just this year, Washington and Maryland have also enacted these protections, and lawmakers in New Hampshire recently passed similar legislation, which currently awaits the governor’s signature.
“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is a dangerous and inhumane form of child abuse that has no basis in science and is uniformly rejected by every major mental health and child welfare organization,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
“We thank the many advocates, allies, parents, and survivors who spoke out against this abusive practice and urged their elected officials to adopt these crucial protections. We also thank Governor Ige and the Hawaii State Legislature for enacting this legislation to protect the state’s LGBTQ youth.”
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, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, and now Hawaii 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, Arizona, and Wisconsin.
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 officials fail to act.
HRC has partnered with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and state equality groups in the US to pass state legislation ending conversion therapy. More information on the lies and dangers of efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity can be found here.