Today, HRC hailed a vote by Washington state’s House of Representatives approving SB 5722 — legislation protecting LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” Several amendments were added to the bill, which now heads back to the Senate for concurrence before it can go to Governor Inslee’s desk. If signed, SB 5722 would be the first pro-LGBTQ law to be enacted this year.
“No child should be put through the abusive practice of so-called conversion therapy,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “This outdated and dangerous practice has been rejected by medical professionals and has resulted in life-threatening consequences for countless LGBTQ youth. We thank the state legislators who voted to protect young Washingtonians from this inhumane practice.”
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 lies and dangers of efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity can be found here.