Post submitted by Aaron Rodriguez, former Rapid Response Deputy Press Secretary
Today, HRC hailed a vote by Hawaii’s House of Representatives approving SB 270 — legislation protecting LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” Several amendments were added to the bill, sending it to conference committee before it can move to Governor David Ige’s desk. Last month, Hawaii’s State Senate passed SB 270 with only one senator voting against the bill.
“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is nothing short of child abuse with life-threatening consequences for countless LGBTQ youth,” said HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. “It is time Hawaii join the growing number of states who are enacting laws to protect LGBTQ youth from this dangerous and discredited practice. We urge state legislators to swiftly advance SB 270 through conference committee with the strongest, timely protections intact and send it to Governor Ige’s desk.”
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, and Washington 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. In addition, the Maryland state legislature passed similar protections earlier this week.
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 lies and dangers of efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity can be found here.