The Georgia Assembly has filed new legislation, House Bill 580 (titled the Youth Mental Health Protection Act), to protect LGBTQ youth from the harmful practice of conversion therapy, which falsely claims to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Currently, 15 states have successfully passed legislation to ban the use of so-called ‘ex-gay’ therapy on LGBTQ minors.
“All children in Georgia should receive care that first, does no harm. Conversion therapy has no scientific basis and contradicts the medical community’s understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said the bill’s sponsor, Georgia Rep. Matthew Wilson. “I am proud to sponsor this bill that helps ensure the safety of Georgia’s LGBTQ youth by outlawing this incredibly dangerous practice.”
Organizations like The Trevor Project are actively lobbying in every state to put an end to conversion therapy. Their 50 Bills 50 States campaign is the largest in the world working to protect LGBTQ youth from the discredited practice which can amplify stigma and shame.
A study at San Francisco State University showed LGBTQ youth who were rejected by their families due to their identities were 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 8.4 times more likely to have attempted suicide when compared to youth from accepting and affirming families and caregivers.
Conversion therapy has been widely denounced by leading professional medical associations including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association.