U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, re-introduced the Stop Harming Our Kids Resolution today (Tuesday, April 14), which calls on states to protect minors from the discredited practice of reparative therapy, also known as “conversion therapy.”
“It’s time to end this abusive quackery masquerading as medicine. Being transgender, gay, lesbian or bisexual is not a disease to be cured or a mental illness that requires treatment,” Rep. Speier said at a press conference. “That view has been rejected as scientifically invalid by the American Psychiatric Association and many other mental health groups for nearly 40 years.”
National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling lauded the resolution. “Discredited by every major mental health organization in the U.S., these unsafe programs take advantage of vulnerable transgender and LGB kids and their parents. Today’s resolution draws attention to these baseless programs and encourages states to take steps to protect minors from these efforts,” she said.
“Transgender youth face extraordinary challenges. Many desperately need real support. Nationally, 75 percent of trans youth feel unsafe at school. Unfortunately, many parents just don’t have information about what it means to be transgender. They are reaching out for insight and support, because they love their child,” NCTE Director of Policy Harper Jean Tobin added. “So-called ‘conversion therapy’ offers a dangerous illusion for these families–instead it delivers harm…Today’s resolution draws attention to these baseless programs and encourages states to take steps to protect minors. Every child deserves to be loved for who they are.”
The action comes on the heels of White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett’s response last week to a “We the People” petition calling for a federal ban on conversion therapy. The petition, which generated more than 120,000 supporters, was sparked by the tragic suicide of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen in Ohio who was forced into conversion therapy by her parents.
“We share your concern about conversion therapy and its devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer youth,” Jarrett said. “As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this administration supports efforts to ban conversion therapy for minors.”
Currently California, New Jersey and the District of Columbia have banned conversion therapy. Bills have been introduced in 18 states, including Texas, that would ban the process. Texas Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, who authored HB 3495 to ban conversion therapy, is currently awaiting a committee hearing on her bill.