For decades, LGBTQ Americans were subjected to so-called “conversion therapies” to alter, change or “cure” a person’s innate sexual orientation or gender identity, which studies have shown can double the rates of depression and triple the rates of suicide. In January 2020, Utah made headlines as the 19th state to ban this harmful practice for minors, and we are by far the most conservative state to do so thanks to Republican lawmakers Rep. Craig Hall and Sen. Dan McKay who introduced legislation to end the practice.
When efforts were initially stalled in the Legislature, Governor Herbert stepped in to ensure that sciencewould prevail over politics. He gave the assignment to the licensing Board of Psychologists to draft language to finally ban the dangerous techniques. He said:
“I have learned much through this process. The stories of youth who have endured these so-called therapies are heartrending, and I’m grateful that we have found a way forward that will ban conversion therapy forever in our state.”
Ending conversion therapy not only protects our young people, but also sends a life-affirming message to LGBTQ youth that they are valued and loved—just as they are.
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