Washington state has banned gay ‘cure’ therapy for minors
Washington has become the tenth US state to ban medical professionals from practising gay ‘cure’ therapy on minors.
Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill into law yesterday, after it passed the state legislature earlier this month.
Washington joins New Jersey, California, Oregon, Vermont, Illinois, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada – and Washington DC – in banning licensed professionals from engaging in the practice.
The law will come into effect from June.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement: “No child should be put through the dangerous and abusive practice of conversion therapy.
“Medical professionals agree this harmful and discredited practice not only doesn’t work, but can also have life-threatening consequences.
“We thank the many advocates, allies, parents, and survivors who spoke out against conversion therapy and urged their elected officials to adopt these crucial protections.
“We also thank Governor Inslee and the Washington State Legislature for enacting this legislation to protect LGBTQ youth.”
Bills to prohibit professionals from practising conversion therapy on children are pending in another 16 states.
Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin are all in the process of considering bans.
Earlier this year, a study found that 20,000 LGBT teenagers will be forced into so-called ‘gay cure therapy’ with a licensed healthcare professional before they turn 18.
Researchers also discovered that 698,000 LGBT adults aged 18-59 in the US have endured conversion therapy.
The study, which was conducted at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, found that efforts to ban the hateful practice have had an effect on thousands of LGBT children.
The study showed that 6,000 LGBT kids aged 13-17 “would have received such therapy from a licensed healthcare professional before age 18 if their state had not banned the practice.”
As well as the 20,000 LGBT children who licensed professionals will try to make straight, another 57,000 will receive gay cure therapy from religious or spiritual advisors before the age of 18.
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Prominent organisations around the world have disavowed conversion therapy, which flies in the face of a consensus reached by medical, psychological and therapeutic groups.
This includes the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association.
“Many professional health associations and the public support ending the use of conversion therapy on LGBT youth,” said Christy Mallory, the lead author of the study.
“Our research shows that laws banning conversion therapy could protect tens of thousands of teens from what medical experts say is a harmful and ineffective practice.”
Experts overwhelmingly agree that endeavours to cure sexuality are futile, misguided, and often actually harmful.
Attempts to force teens to repress their sexuality have been linked to depression, self-harm and even suicide.