New York bans gay conversion therapy

Minnesota has yet to catch up in New York’s progressive footsteps

Kaitlyn Jorgensen
Staff Writer

Tuesday was a huge victory for New York as their legislators voted to ban conversion therapy and add gender identity to the states list of anti-discrimination laws.

Conversion therapy or otherwise known as reparative therapy is treatment grounded in the belief that being LGBT is abnormal and is intended to change a person’s sexual orientation

The origin of conversion therapy dates back to the 1890s however conversion therapy has been found to be not only harmful, but unethical and largely discredited.

According to the Human Rights Campaign Website, in 1997, the American Psychological Association produced a fact sheet on homosexual and bisexual issues, which states that, “there is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of “reparative therapy,” as a treatment to change one’s sexual orientation.

The potential risks of “reparative therapy” are great and include depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient…

Therefore, APA opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as “reparative” or “conversion” therapy, that is based on the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or is based on the priority assumption that the patient should change his or her homosexual orientation.”

This data is over 20 years old, however, nothing has been done in Minnesota since then to ban or change the laws regarding conversion therapy. If the FDA approves a drug and later finds its effects to be harmful to the general population, do they still keep it on the market? Of course not.

Therapy is no different from any other medicine, and the fact of the matter is conversion therapy does not work. It has already been banned in 15 states in the U.S., with New York being the latest addition.

Minnesota is known for being a progressive state and it is time for us to catch up with the rest. Why haven’t we already?

Proponents of the ban claim that it is an infringement of free speech and the right to practice their religion. However, many religious practices that are harmful to a person’s health are banned. Some examples of this include federal and state laws banning child marriage, polygamy and female genital mutilation. 

Instead of allowing this abuse of our LGBT youth to continue we need to be protecting, comforting, and allowing them to express themselves, not exposing them to more religious quackery at a time in adolescence when youth are especially impressionable.

If you agree with me on this matter, there are a few upcoming events that might peak your interest.

First off, Rep. Hunter Cantrell, DFL-Savage, is reviving a proposed ban in the state House this year for Minnesota.

In an interview with Torey Van Oot in the StarTribune published Jan. 10, 2019, the freshman legislator said his goal is to protect “children and vulnerable adults who are put into a difficult situation if they are pressured by their families to go through this incredibly harmful, medically negligent pseudotherapy.”

Another event of interest is the showing of the movie “Boy Erased” at the Stomper Cinema on campus this week which is based on the true story of Garrard Connely and his experience with conversion therapy.

The Outfront Minnesota group will also be in the LGBT Center on Thursday, Jan. 17 from noon to 1 p.m. to discuss their efforts in banning conversion therapy and what you can do to further support it.

Feature photo courtesy of Flickr.

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