DC Council Committee Holds Hearing on Bill to Protect Youth from “Conversion Therapy”

by Charles Joughin

WASHINGTON – Today the DC Council Committee on Health held a hearing on B20-501 (Cheh), a bill to protect youth in the District of Columbia from so-called “conversion therapy.” The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as well as parents, mental health professionals, conversion therapy survivors, and faith leaders provided testimony in support of the bill, encouraging its swift passage.

“So-called conversion therapy is a dangerous and discredited practice that is based on the false idea that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) is a mental illness that needs to be cured,” testified Alison Gill, Senior Legislative Counsel for HRC. “This harmful practice poses devastating health risks for LGBT young people, potentially leading to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicide.”

“Providers who engage in conversion therapy under the veneer of state license can mislead families about the risks involved, leading to negative psychological outcomes and irreparable damage to family cohesiveness. This legislation is needed to protect families and youth from these damaging practices,” she continued.

Conversion therapy is opposed by all mainstream medical and mental health organizations. If passed, the District will join New Jersey and California, which have similar laws in place to protect youth from conversion therapy.

To read Alison Gill’s testimony on behalf of HRC, click here.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.


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