Conversion Therapy Is Dangerous

“Conversion therapy,” often referred to as “reparative therapy,” “ex-gay therapy,” or “sexual orientation change efforts,” includes a range of dangerous and discredited practices aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation, or efforts to change a person’s gender identity or expression. These harmful practices are based on the false claim that being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer (LGBTQ) is a mental illness that should be cured. The United Nations has even gone so far as to classify these practices as torture. Unfortunately, many LGBTQ Minnesotans are still coerced and subjected to these harmful practices, which put them at risk for serious harms such as depression, substance abuse, and suicide.

We have the chance to end it.

Conversion Therapy Is Not an Accepted Medical Practice

Conversion therapy has been denounced by every mainstream medical and mental health association, including the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

American Psychological Association

“[The APA] advises parents, guardians, young people, and their families to avoid sexual orientation change efforts that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder...”

American Medical Association

“Our AMA...opposes, the use of ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.”

American Academy of Pediatrics

“Confusion about sexual orientation is not unusual during adolescence. Counseling may be helpful for young people who are uncertain about their sexual orientation or for those who are uncertain about how to express their sexuality and might profit from an attempt at clarification through a counseling or psychotherapeutic initiative. Therapy directed specifically at changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation.”

The Mental Health Protections Act Will Protect LGBTQ Minnesotans from Harmful Conversion Therapy

The Mental Health Act will protect LGBTQ people from dangerous and discredited practices aimed at changing one’s sexual orientation, including efforts to change gender identity or expression. This bill will prevent mental health care providers in Minnesota from practicing conversion therapy. This legislation will:

  • Protect Minnesotans from being coerced into treatments which are ineffective and which lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide.
  • Prevent parents from being taken advantage of by deceptive agents of the conversion therapy industry.
  • Help ensure that LGBTQ people receive mental health care that is ethical, affirming, and culturally competent.
  • Does NOT affect religious or individual prayer practices.
  • Restrictions only apply for paid services rendered.

While we cannot know the precise number of those who have been subjected to these practices in Minnesota, we know of multiple cases of LGBTQ people experiencing attempts to change their identity within our state.

As of November, 2018, 14 states, the District of Columbia and 70 cities nationwide have restricted this harmful practice. Minnesota has the chance to continue leading on LGBTQ rights by passing the Mental Health Protections Act.

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