Bill Introduced to Protect LGBT Youth From Psychological Abuse

(Albany, NY)

Today the Empire State Pride Agenda, New York’s statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, launched a campaign to pass a bill aimed at protecting LGBT youth from psychological abuse. Bills were jointly introduced in both houses of the legislature by State Assemblymember Deborah Glick (Assembly bill: A06983A) as well as State Senator Brad Hoylman and State Senator Michael Gianaris (Senate bill: S04917A).

This legislation would protect LGBT youth from so-called therapists who use dangerous and discredited practices aimed at changing their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

“Trying to change someone’s true identity through so-called therapy is a dangerous practice that can seriously harm our LGBT youth,” said Pride Agenda Executive Director Nathan M. Schaefer. “Anyone who says they can change an LGBT person from being who they are is preying off of fear and confusion to sell a practice that doesn’t work and causes lasting harm.”

“We are happy that Empire State Pride Agenda is advocating for this important legislation,” said Assemblymember Deborah Glick (D – Manhattan). “Stronger laws to protect LGBT youth from being subjected to these unsafe and disproven practices are long overdue.”

"Banning this so-called 'therapy' is a bipartisan issue. Since last spring, legislation prohibiting it has passed with bipartisan support in New Jersey and was upheld by a federal court in California,” said Senator Brad Hoylman (D,WFP – Manhattan). "It's time for New York to protect our kids from this insidious practice, which has been thoroughly discredited by experts and poses a serious threat to the health and well-being of LGBT youth."

"We cannot wait any longer to protect our LGBT youth from ignorant attempts to change their sexual orientation,” said Senator Michael Gianaris (D – Queens). “New York has a long history of leadership on LGBT issues and it is time to send a message that we will not stand for gay conversion therapy, a practice not based on science but on intolerance."

The vast majority of associations of mental health practitioners and researchers all acknowledge the detrimental effects that this damaging practice has on minors. The American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association oppose this practice and are joined by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Counseling Association Governing Council, the American Psychoanalytic Organization, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of Social Workers and the Pan American Health Organization.

California passed a similar comprehensive legal ban against this process in fall of 2012 and New Jersey passed its own in the summer of 2013.

In June 2013, after 36 years of leading the “ex-gay” movement, Exodus International disbanded amid growing skepticism of its top officials and board members that sexual attractions can be changed.

More information about this issue can be found at prideagenda.org/protectingyouth.