Three major cities in Ohio took big steps for LGBTQ equality this week: The Columbus City Council voted to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous practice of “conversion therapy” and the Akron City Council and the Olmsted Falls City Council passed LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections.
“Conversion therapy,” sometimes referred to as “sexual orientation change efforts” or “reparative therapy,” is a range of dangerous and debunked practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. These practices are based on the false premise that being LGBTQ is a mental illness that needs to be cured, a theory that has been rejected by every major medical and mental health organization for decades.
California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, New York and Washington, D.C. currently have laws or regulations protecting LGBTQ minors from the dangerous practice. In Ohio, Cincinnati and Toledo have similar ordinances in place.
In addition to this major victory in Columbus, Akron became the 17th city in Ohio to pass LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections and Olmsted Falls became the 18th one-day later.
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Councilman Rich Swirsky introduced that city's bill last week, which was passed unanimously Monday night. The bill creates an Akron Civil Rights Commission that would hear cases regarding denial of employment, housing and access to public accommodations. on the basis of age, sex, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, military status, disability, marital status, sexual orientation and gender identity.
“No one should live in fear of being fired, being denied service, or being denied a place to live just because of who they are,” Mayor Horrigan told the Akron Beacon Journal. “And I truly believe that if Akron is to live up to its reputation as a ‘welcoming city,’ it needs to be more than just words on paper."
The Olmsted Falls City Council took the first steps to advance protections for LGBTQ people in February and passed the updated ordinance yesterday.