Alim Kheraj
August 03, 2016 5:01 am
Shutterstock

Seattle has become the third city in the United States of America to ban LGBTQ+ conversion therapy. All nine members of the Seattle City Council voted to outlaw the practice, meaning that mental health providers will now no longer be legally able offer or suggest the controversial ‘treatment’ to minors and queer youth.

The piece of legislation was sponsored by City Council Member Lorena Gonzàlez, and had the full support of the city Mayor. Now a mental health professional can be fined up to $1000 and given a misdemeanor if found to be promoting or suggesting the therapy to a patient under the age of 18.

Seattle joins Cincinnati, Ohio and Miami Beach, Florida, as the third city to outlaw the practice. Conversion therapy is actually illegal in five states, including California and Oregon, and the District of Columbia.

The practice of conversion therapy, which sees people attempt to “reverse” their sexual identities, has been widely discredited by mental health organisations, with the World Psychiatric Association stating that there is “[a] lack of scientific efficacy of treatments that attempt to change sexual orientation and [the WPA] highlights the harm and adverse effects of such ‘therapies’.”

Last year, President Obama heavily criticized the controversial ‘therapies’, which can often lead to long term psychological problems. However, he did not call for an explicit ban on the practice, but rather voiced his support for state-level changes to legislation and those that were outlawing it.

Speaking about the need to change the law in Seattle, City Council Member Gonzàlez said, “Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer or transgender is not an illness, nor is it something that needs a cure.”

Council Member Debora Juarez continued, saying, “It breaks my heart that we have to pass a law to recognize your humanity. So today, God bless you.”

In statement published by the National Center for Lesbian Rights,  Youth Policy Counsel Carolyn Reyes spoke of how grateful she was for this change in legislation. “Today, Seattle has taken a bold step to save children’s lives, and its children have received a clear message that they were born perfect.”

We recently published a moving personal essay by one of our readers who underwent conversion therapy, which you can read here.

We hope that, soon, more cities and states will follow suit and put an end to this inhumane practice.

If you or anyone you know needs to talk, you can contact The Trevor Project here or the GLBT National Help Center.

Advertisement