On Wednesday, Michigan lawmakers voted to ban so-called conversion therapy for minors, the state’s latest effort to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ people amid an ongoing assault by GOP legislatures to roll back the freedoms of gay Americans.
The state’s Democratic-controlled Legislature has given final approval to two bills that would bar licensed medical professionals from engaging in the practice. Conversion therapy refers to attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The practice has been widely discredited by mental health and medical groups, who note that minors are particularly vulnerable to a range of negative effects associated with such efforts.
Legislation is now heading to the office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D). If signed, Michigan would become the 22nd state to ban conversion therapy.
“Banning it is just one less thing LGBTQ kids will have to worry about in the future in Michigan,” said Michigan State Rep. Jason Hoskins (D), the first LGBTQ person + of color elected to the Legislative Assembly, to the Associated Press this week. He added that conversion therapy “operates on the false premise that LGBTQ+ children are wrong and need to be corrected.”
Despite efforts to limit prejudice-related conversion therapy, 15% of LGBTQ youth in Michigan said they had been threatened or subjected to such practices in the past year, according to The Trevor Project.
Civil rights groups said the new bills would help protect vulnerable young people, praising the state for quickly passing policies to protect LGBTQ residents. The state added LGBTQ protections to its anti-discrimination provisions earlier this year, enshrining permanent protections for the community in law.
“No one should live in fear of being subjected to the discredited and dangerous practice of so-called talk therapy,” said Sarah Warbelow, vice president of legal services for the Human Rights Campaign, in a statement this week. . “While it’s a shame this practice has been allowed for so long, today’s passage is just another example of how Michigan is rapidly moving towards a more inclusive and safer state for children. LGBTQ+ people.”
The move comes amid a fierce push by Republicans across the country to limit the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans. State legislatures have introduced hundreds of bills designed to limit access to health care for young trans children, bar transgender athletes from school sports teams, and limit the number of teachers who can talk about sexuality in schools. the classrooms.
The Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people earlier this month, citing Republican-led efforts as an urgent crisis for Americans.
The Huffington Gt