Washington DC becomes the first territory in the US to ban gay ‘cure’ therapy for adults

karendesuyo via Flickr

Several states and dozens of cities have imposed bans on minors, but not adults.

Washington DC has become the first territory of the United States to ban gay ‘cure’ therapy for not just minors, but adults as well. The only other place in the country that bans the discredited and harmful practice from being carried out on adults is New York City.

The law was signed into effect by DC’s mayor, Muriel Bowser and was introduced last December by Mary Cheh. When voted on, it was unanimously passed.

Reacting to the news, Cheh said: “Medical and mental health professionals condemn the practice of conversion therapy, which is why I previously banned the practice for minors: to protect them from the increased risk of depression, substance abuse, and suicide that is associated with this harmful practice.

“This bill now fills a further gap to ensure that conversion therapy cannot be forced on someone who is unable to provide consent.

“It is courageous to live an open, honest life—full of purpose and meaning. I see none of those values in these types of therapies and they must not be accepted in the District of Columbia.”

via Flickr

LGBTQ activists praised the decision. Sam Brinton, head of advocacy for the Trevor Project said: “Nobody should be subjected to the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.

“This is especially true of those, like minors or adults under guardianship, who are limited in their ability to consent to these so-called ‘treatments.’

“The Trevor Project was proud to offer testimony in support of this legislation, and we are grateful to the DC Council for acting to protect vulnerable LGBTQ adults.”

Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán, the senior policy counsel for National LGBTQ Task Force, said: “With this measure, DC is leading the nation in protecting some of our most vulnerable LGBTQ people—those who despite their adulthood are not allowed by the state to make their own medical decisions.

“Far too often we’ve seen guardianship being used to prevent LGBTQ people from being who they are. This bill is a monumental step in the right direction and we hope other states follow DC’s example.”

15 U.S. states have banned conversion therapy. Those states are New Jersey, California, Oregon, IllinoisVermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, NevadaWashingtonHawaiiDelawareMarylandNew Hampshire and New York.

There is currently legislation pending in 14 other US states. These states are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

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