Good news out of the United States of America yesterday, as Delaware enacted SB 65 – a piece of legislation that makes the practice of ‘conversion therapy’ on minors illegal.
It makes the east coast state the 14th in the US to ban the so-called therapy, which is often used in attempt to ‘cure’ a person of being homosexual.
The practice has been widely discredited by experts and has a profoundly negative impact on LGBTQ youth subjected to it.
“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is dangerous, cruel and uniformly rejected by every major mental health and child welfare organization,” said Sarah McBride, National Press Secretary of the Human Rights Campaign.
McBride is a Delaware native herself and made history back in 2016 as the first trans person to speak at a Democratic party convention.
“Today’s signing is a critical step forward in the fight to ensure that Delaware is a safe and affirming state for all LGBTQ youth, and we hope that the values and progress reflected in this law guide the ongoing conversation in Delaware about protecting LGBTQ students from discrimination,” she said.
Governor John Carney signed the bill into law, and stated on Twitter that all Delawareans “deserve to be respected for who they are”.
All Delawareans, including Delaware children, deserve to be respected for who they are, and I was proud to sign Senate Bill 65 into law today.
Discredited practices like conversion therapy have no place in Delaware. pic.twitter.com/ljacguEZfd
— Governor John Carney (@JohnCarneyDE) July 23, 2018
He added: “Discredited practices like conversion therapy have no place in Delaware.”
Earlier this year, David Yost – a former Power Rangers actor – opened up about the ‘conversion therapy’ he went under after he left the show in the 90s because of homophobic abuse.
Speaking to Out In Perth, Yost said: “Well the conversion therapy I had done that quite religiously for two years which unfortunately caused a nervous breakdown because I was actively working against the truth of who I was and mentally I couldn’t take it anymore.
“After my nervous breakdown it took me years to be comfortable and really be open about myself. It wasn’t an overnight process and it took a long time to be happy and comfortable.”
Meanwhile, the UK Government recently announced plans to look into stopping the practice as part of their new LGBT Action Plan.
According to recent survey results, which were published by the Equalities Office earlier this month, 2% of the LGBTQ community have undergone gay conversion ‘therapy’, while a further 5% have been offered it.
The practice, which has been discredited by the NHS and the World Psychiatric Association, refers to any attempt at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and often involves techniques like electroshock therapy or prayer.
Note: An earlier version of this article stated that Delaware was the 15th US state to ban ‘conversion therapy’, when in fact it is the 14th. New York state has signed an executive order restricting the practice, but they have not yet made it illegal.