Human Rights Campaign Commends Michigan Senate for Passing Conversion Therapy Ban

by HRC Staff

LANSING, MICH. — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — commends the Michigan Senate for passing HB 4616 and HB 4617, which ban conversion therapy statewide. Earlier this month, ten major health care organizations joined the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Michigan in calling on Michigan legislators to send the bill to Gov. Whitmer’s desk without delay.

Human Rights Campaign Vice President of Legal Sarah Warbelow released the follow statement in response:

“The Human Rights Campaign applauds the Michigan Senate for advancing this critical legislation. No one should live in fear of being subjected to the discredited and dangerous practice of so-called conversation therapy. While it’s a shame that this practice has been allowed to take place for so long, today’s passage is just another example of how Michigan is rapidly progressing toward being a more inclusive and safe state for LGBTQ+ people.”

The Facts About So-Called “Conversion Therapy”

“Conversion therapy” refers to a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Every major medical and mental health organization in the United States has rejected the use of conversion therapy as dangerous. In addition, peer-reviewed research published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2020 found that youth subjected to conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide and more than 2.5 times as likely to report multiple suicide attempts in that past year.

More than one out of every eight young LGBTQ+ people living in Michigan reported being threatened with or subjected to conversion therapy, according to the Trevor Project, an organization devoted to preventing suicide in the LGBTQ+ community.

The bill that passed the Michigan Senate today prevents state-licensed mental health providers from engaging in conversion therapy with minors and would aim to increase trust with state-licensed mental health providers. The ban will curb harmful practices, protect families from predatory therapists, and help ensure the health and safety of young people across Michigan.

IN CONTRAST TO MICHIGAN: 2023 Becoming Worst Year On Record for Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation

So far in 2023, HRC is opposing almost 560 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. A total of 80 pieces of legislation have been enacted into law this year. A total of 229 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date. This year, HRC is tracking:

  • A total 131 gender-affirming care bans — bills that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, 17 have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, Florida, Nebraska, and Missouri

  • More than 30 anti-transgender bathroom bills filed;

  • A total of 100 anti-LGBTQ+ curriculum censorship bills, and;

  • 44 anti-LGBTQ+ drag performance ban bills.

Americans believe the amount of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is excessive, agreeing it is “political theater.” Likely voters across all political parties look at GOP efforts to flood state legislatures with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation as political theater. Recent polling indicates that 64% of all likely voters, including 72% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 55% of Republicans think that there is “too much legislation” aimed at “limiting the rights of transgender and gay people in America” (Data For Progress survey of 1,220 likely voters, 3/24-26, 2023).

By comparison, last year in 2022 politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, 29 of which were enacted into law. These efforts — the result of a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes seeking to slander, malign, and stigmatize LGBTQ+ people — only yielded a less than 10% success rate, as more than 90% of anti-LGBTQ+ bills were defeated. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children. By the end of the 2022 state legislative season, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children were enacted into law.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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