Post submitted by Aaron Rodriguez, former Rapid Response Deputy Press Secretary
Today, HRC called on New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu to sign HB 587 — legislation protecting LGBTQ youth in the state from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted today to concur with the version of the bill passed by the Senate, sending HB 587 to Governor Sununu’s desk. If signed, New Hampshire would join 11 other states and Washington, D.C. in adopting such protections for LGBTQ youth.
HRC and local LGBTQ advocates, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Hampshire, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) have been advocating for the measure.
“Children across the Granite State deserve to live their lives authentically and should never be subjected to the abusive practice of so-called conversion therapy,” said HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. “This dangerous practice has no basis in science and is uniformly rejected by every major medical and mental health organization in the country. We thank the state legislators who voted to protect LGBTQ youth. Governor Sununu now must sign this crucially important legislation.”
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, lawmakers in Maryland and Hawaii recently passed similar protections which currently await their governors’ signatures.
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.
More information on the lies and dangers of efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity can be found here.