Human Rights Campaign Praises Akron City Council for Passing Ordinance to Ban Conversion Therapy

by HRC Staff

'Conversion Therapy' a Dangerous Practice Discredited by Every Major Medical and Health Organization

AKRON, OHIO — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer civil rights organization, tonight praised the Akron City Council for approving a ban on the dangerous and universally discredited practice of conversion therapy for local youth. Once the ordinance is signed into law by Mayor Daniel Horrigan, Akron will become the 11th city in Ohio to ban conversion therapy.

Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow released the following statement:

“We are proud and grateful that the Akron City Council tonight has made clear that LGBTQ+ youth should be valued, respected, and treated with the same dignity that every human being deserves. Conversion therapy is a dangerous practice discredited by every major medical and health organization. It needs to be stopped and the City Council’s action tonight will make a real difference in the lives of young people in Akron. We look forward to seeing this ordinance signed into law.”

Equality Ohio Executive Director Alana Jochum released the following statement:

“We know that equality means passing protections like Akron has done today—and, as Barbara Gittings said, 'equality is more than that.' Equality is won by changing the hearts and minds of the community. Today, Akron has achieved both. We are proud of the great work this community has done alongside local government to protect its youth against an immoral, harmful practice. We look forward to a future where LGBTQ+ youth feel safe coming out here and across the entire state.”

To date, 20 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have passed laws or regulations prohibiting the practice of conversion therapy, with eight of these state laws or regulations having been enacted under Republican governors.

“Conversion therapy,” sometimes referred to as “sexual orientation change efforts” or “reparative therapy,” encompasses a range of practices, built on no credible evidence, that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, efforts that have long been opposed by major medical and health organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association. However, due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ+ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.

According to a 2019 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.

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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