Last night, the New Hampshire Senate passed a bill to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and discredited practices of so-called “conversion therapy.” House Bill 1661 prohibits licensed mental health providers from providing “conversion therapy” to individuals below the age of eighteen. The bill must now pass a conference committee. If signed into law, New Hampshire will become the seventh jurisdiction to enact a law protecting youth from “conversion therapy”—and the second to do so this year.
California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington, D.C. currently have laws that protect LGBTQ minors from “conversion therapy” and more than 20 states introduced similar legislation this year. Following an executive action from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, New York is also adopting regulations to protect youth from “conversion therapy.”
Last month, the Vermont legislature passed a bill to protect LGBTQ youth from these abusive practices, which the governor is expected to sign into law.
In February, HRC, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a historic federal consumer fraud complaint against a major provider of “conversion therapy,” urging the Federal Trade Commission to take enforcement action against the organization and all practitioners engaging in similar fraudulent advertising and business practices.
“Conversion therapy,” sometimes referred to as “sexual orientation change efforts” or “reparative therapy,” is a range of 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 by every major medical and mental health organization for decades.
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. Use of these dangerous practices lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior, which is why they are universally criticized by the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association.
NCLR and HRC have partnered with state equality groups across the nation to pass state legislation to end this dangerous practice.