By Alex Temblador
Three. The number of states that had previously banned gay conversion therapy for minors. Four. The number of states that now ban gay conversion therapy for minors thanks to Illinois.
Yesterday, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a bill that would prevent “therapists” from “subjecting young persons to counseling that is designed to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.” Illinois now joins California, Oregon, and New Jersey (as well as Washington D.C.) as states who have also banned gay conversion therapy for LGBT youth. The law will go into effect January 1st, 2016.
Representative Kelly Cassidy, the sponsor of the bill, explained the importance of such a law: “Children who are highly rejected by their communities based on sexual orientation are six times more likely to suffer from depression and eight times more likely to attempt suicide. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not mental disorders. Who you are is not a disease, and that is the message we should be telling our children. I am grateful to all the sponsors, advocates, parents, and people across the state who supported this legislation and I am eager to continue the fight to protect our children.”
What makes this law so significant is that it is the first law to include consumer fraud language. Cassidy stated, “Our version of this legislation is the most comprehensive bill in the nation, barring health providers from engaging in this practice and affording survivors access to consumer fraud action against the perpetrators of this abuse.”
Other people have also weighed in on this historic and amazing day. Samantha Ames, a staff attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights said that, “Illinois families can now have confidence that the mental health professional they turn to in times of uncertainty may not use their state license to profit from their children’s pain. Most importantly, Illinois kids can now rest easy in the knowledge that they cannot be forced or coerced to undergo dangerous and discredited treatments to fix who they are.”
HRC President Chad Griffin also spoke out in support of the new law: “Discredited by every major mental health, medical, and child welfare organization, conversion ‘therapy’ uses fear and shame to tell young people the only way to find love and acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are. We thank Governor Rauner as well as members of the state legislature on both sides of the aisle for putting politics aside and the well-being of children first. We will continue to work with our allies to secure these crucial protections in every state across the nation.”
The American Psychological Association has spoken out against gay conversion therapy and holds the stance that it doesn’t work:
“That the American Psychological Association opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation and mental health and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based in ignorance or unfounded beliefs about sexual orientation.”
Four out of fifty. The number of states with bans on gay conversion therapy. We look forward to the day that it’s fifty out fifty for the mental and emotional state of a significant portion of our population: our youth. And we’re not the only ones. Support for laws that ban gay conversion therapy is clear on Twitter.
Wish this had been in existence when I went through the therapy in Illinois. But, better late than never. http://t.co/1J8ez6GJbq
— Kyle JL (@kyjl89) August 20, 2015
— Rep. Kelly Cassidy (@RepKellyCassidy) August 20, 2015
Thrilled that HB217 banning conversion "therapy" for minors is now law. Thx to @RepKellyCassidy & all the advocates who made this possible!
— Daniel Biss (@danielbiss) August 20, 2015
— transadvocate (@transadvocate) August 20, 2015
Hope the other States follow suit & quickly… http://t.co/QyjeDpNekV
— Alex Yau (@Kwai_sin) August 21, 2015
I would like to thank Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL.) for his support on LGBTQ issues & signing the ban on gay conversion therapy in Illinois.
— Tom Kidd (@FabulousThomasJ) August 21, 2015
You wouldn't believe the number of states that still allow for this BS gay conversion therapy. Good job, IL. https://t.co/Fdy18Ky8tX
— Christa Desir (@ChristaDesir) August 21, 2015
In 2015, Illinois becomes 4th state to ban gay conversion therapy. An APA council called the practice bunk back in 97 http://t.co/yhyYu4EDoH
— Kim Bellware (@bellwak) August 21, 2015
Featured Photo by Acon Online