Washington, D.C. has become the first territory in the U.S. after New York City to ban the harmful practice of gay “cure” therapy for both minors and adults.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has signed the law after it was introduced by Mary Cheh last December and passed unanimously.
“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,” said Cheh. “This bill now fills a further gap to ensure that conversion therapy cannot be forced on someone who is unable to provide consent.”
Cheh added that it is courageous to live an open, honest life. “I see none of those values in these types of therapies and they must not be accepted in the District of Columbia,” she said.
Washington DC has become the first territory of the United States to ban gay ‘cure’ therapy for not just minors, but adults as well. https://t.co/d1Vjj5mCvz
— Ben Oliveira (@Ben_Oliveira) January 27, 2019
Sam Brinton, head of advocacy for the Trevor Project, appreciated the decision. “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’,” said Brinton.
“The Trevor Project was proud to offer testimony in support of this legislation, and we are grateful to the D.C. Council for acting to protect vulnerable LGBTQ adults.”
Senior policy counsel for National LGBTQ Task Force Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán said D.C. would lead the nation in terms of protecting the most vulnerable LGBTQ individuals and “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 D.C.’s example,” added Roldan.
Conversion therapy has been banned in 15 U.S. states, which are New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire and New York. In 14 other states of the country, the legislation regarding a ban is currently pending.