Press Releases:

Hawaii State Senate Votes to Protect LGBTQ Youth from Abusive Practice of “Conversion Therapy”

March 6, 2018

WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, praised the Hawaii State Senate for passing SB 270 -- legislation protecting LGBTQ youth in the state from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy.”

“We thank the state senators who voted to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and inhumane practice of conversion therapy,” said HRC Legislative Counsel Xavier Persad. “ Children across the Aloha State deserve to live their lives authentically, and they deserve to know that they are not broken or ill because of who they are. We are calling on the House of Representatives to swiftly pass this bill and send it to Governor David Ige’s desk for his signature.”

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.

Last week, the Washington State Legislature also passed similar protections and the measure now awaits the governor’s signature.

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 officials fail to act.

More information on the lies and dangers of efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity can be found here.

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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