Minnesota House Passes Measure Protecting LGBTQ Youth from Dangerous “Conversion Therapy”

HRC celebrated a vote by the Minnesota House of Representatives to include H.F. 12, legislation to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous practice of so-called “conversion therapy,” in the HHS Omnibus finance bill. The Minnesota Senate will also consider a finance bill. If enacted,  Minnesota would become the 17th state in the U.S. to protect youth from this egregious practice. Colorado recently passed a similar bill through its legislature; it is soon heading to the governor’s desk.

“All children deserve to live authentically and free from fear of this dangerous and discredited practice with potentially life-threatening consequences,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “We thank the Minnesota House of Representatives for taking action on this issue and urge the state Senate to pass this measure and join the growing number of states and municipalities that protect LGBTQ youth from abusive ‘conversion therapy.”

“Thousands of Minnesotans have worked so hard over the last few months to stop the torturous practice known as conversion “therapy” and today, during OutFront’s LGBTQ Lobby Day, the Minnesota House sent a strong message of support for LGBTQ Minnesotans by including the Mental Health Protections Act (H.F. 12) in the Health and Human Services (HHS) omnibus bill,” said Monica Meyer, Executive Director of OutFront Minnesota. “We could not be more proud of every single LGBTQ and Allied person who made this possible.”

There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. To the contrary, research has clearly shown that these practices pose devastating health risks for LGBTQ young people such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior. The harmful practice is condemned by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association.

Connecticut, California, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia all have laws protecting youth from this abusive practice. Last month, Puerto Rico’s Governor issued an executive order protecting minors in the commonwealth from the harmful practice. A growing number of municipalities have also enacted similar protections, including at least fifty cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, New York, Arizona, and Wisconsin.

According to a recent report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, an estimated 20,000 LGBTQ minors in states without protections will be subjected to conversion therapy by a licensed healthcare professional if state officials fail to act. Last year, national organizations representing millions of licensed medical and mental health care professionals, educators, and child welfare advocates declared their support for legislative protections against conversion therapy.

HRC has partnered with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the Trevor Project, MassEquality and local advocates in support of these vital protections. More information on the lies and dangers of efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity can be found here.

Read more

HRC: House Judiciary Committee Right to Advance VAWA Without Anti-Transgender Amendments

Today, HRC applauded pro-equality members of the House Judiciary Committee for voting down last-minute, harmful, and unnecessary amendments to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that would have stripped protections of transgender people from violence and given organizations and individuals a license to discriminate against the transgender community.

“It’s shocking that in 2019, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee would use a bill designed to address violence against women as a vehicle to launch a coordinated attack on the LGBTQ community,” said David Stacy, HRC Government Affairs Director. “Protecting people from violence shouldn’t be a partisan issue. These amendments ignore medical expertise and defy common sense. The reality is that trans people are disproportionately victims of violent crime, and they need to be able to access appropriate services. Leaders of hundreds of sexual violence and domestic violence organizations agree that transgender women victims being served alongside other women is appropriate and not a safety issue. We are grateful that pro-equality members of the Judiciary Committee voted down these discriminatory amendments.”

Despite today’s anti-trans efforts by Republican members, protections against violence for the transgender community in prison and other spaces has a considerable bipartisan history. In 2003, President Bush signed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), which provided for the development of basic federal protections for the care of transgender people in prison. After six years of study, the Department of Justice adopted regulations fully implementing these protections in 2012. The National PREA Resource Center developed an FAQ on the implementation of these standards, which have made clear that searches of transgender people who are incarcerated should be based on their gender identity and reflect that transgender prisoners are more than nine times more likely to be targeted for sexual abuse or assault.

Last year, HRC called out the Trump-Pence White House’s blatantly undermining Obama-era protections for transgender prisoners when they ordered the Bureau of Prisons to use “biological sex” in determining how transgender prisoners are assigned housing, putting them at significant risk of sexual abuse, assault, and other types of discrimination.

Read more