Legislation to Ban Conversion Therapy for LGBTQ Youth Passes out of Committee

HB19-1129, a bill to ban Conversion Therapy for Minors passed the Colorado Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs committee, on Monday, March 18. Daniel Ramos, Executive Director of One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for LGBTQ Coloradans, says that this will make the 5th attempt to have such legislation passed.

 

Conversion Therapy is any effort aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It can be simply guilting and shaming the individual, attempting to make them feel as though who they are or who they love is fundamentally wrong and needs to be changed. In the past it was much more common to use physical methods to attempt this change. These methods ranged from castration to electroshock therapy. Today, while still practiced, these physical methods are more dispersed. Taking their place are the psychological methods. While these methods are less directly physical and shocking than ones used in prior years, they have no foundation in scientific fact and often pose a serious threat to patients.

Last year, One Colorado conducted a survey on Conversion Therapy, and found that nearly 1,000 people had experienced some type of Conversion Therapy. Often, licensed practitioners who practice Conversion Therapy don’t call themselves Conversion Therapists, rather more pleasing titles such as gender and sexuality therapists or specialists. This makes it harder to directly differentiate who practices Conversion Therapy from who does not.

“This bill would prohibit state licensed mental health professionals from practicing conversion therapy. And the way that would be enforced is that this bill would provide the state licensing boards and the division of occupations and professions to discipline practitioners who are continuing to practice conversion therapy even after this bill is signed into law. So the enforcement mechanism for ending conversion therapy by state licensed mental health professionals would be through the division of occupations and professions. The challenge is that as we’ve seen here in Colorado that as more and more states are passing bans on conversion therapy, that then Colorado, and Denver specifically, our arch Dioceses of the Catholic Church have actually called for an expansion of conversion therapy, and have called upon other clergy’s to open up conversion therapy clinics within their churches, and essentially doubled down on their conversion therapy methods.”

All mainstream medical and mental health associations are in unanimous agreement that conversion therapy is not a legitimate form of therapy with any scientific validity, that it does more harm to patients than any good it offers.

This is the 5th year this bill has been in circulation, with One Colorado running the bill annually. The bill passed out of the house with bipartisan support, but for the past 4 years the republican leadership in the senate has prevented it from progressing, thus the bill wasn’t debated on the senate floor, and no direct discussion about it took place.

There’s more information on One Colorado’s website.