The city of Athens, Ohio bans the dangerous and discredited practice of "conversion therapy" on minors.
Post submitted by Ianthe Metzger, Former Press Secretary, State & Local
This week, the city of Athens, Ohio joined Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, and Dayton in banning the dangerous and discredited practice of "conversion therapy" on minors.
Originally proposed in June and supported by Ohio University’s LGBT Center, the City Council voted unanimously on Monday to approve the measure that would update the city code to prohibit “efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity with a minor.”
Before the vote, Councilmember Chris Fahl said, “[Athens is] a city full of love and tolerance, inclusiveness and community...This was brought forth by people who wanted to see change. That’s the essence of democracy.”
“Conversion therapy,” sometimes referred to as “sexual orientation change efforts” or “reparative therapy,” encompasses a range of dangerous 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 for decades by every major medical and mental health organization.
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 dangerous practice is condemned by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association.
A growing number of localities across the country, including cities and counties in Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida and Arizona, have enacted similar protections. 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.
Last month, HRC launched HRC Rising, the largest grassroots expansion in its history that will include significant investments in Ohio ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Follow hrc.org/resist for more information.