Utah Bans Conversion Therapy

Utah becomes the 19th state to ban conversion therapy. (Photo credit: Joshua T via Pexels)

Utah became the 19th state to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ minors, thanks to a new rule enacted on Tuesday, January 21.  The ban signed into law by Utah’s Republican governor, Gary Herbert was issued a year after a bill to stop the practice was halted in the Utah’s legislature. Governor Herbert first submitted the rule in November.  In a recent statement, he expressed his gratitude “that we have found a way forward that will ban conversion therapy forever in our state.”

Conversion therapy is the pursuit to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity against their will.  Examples of this practice are behavioral modification, reparative therapy, ex-gay therapy, sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), and even lobotomies.  

According to a 2007 study by the American Psychological Association, “results of scientifically valid research indicate that it is unlikely that individuals will be able to reduce same-sex attractions or increase other-sex sexual attractions through [sexual orientation change efforts].”  

Studies have shown individuals forced to undergo conversion therapy have a greater risk of depression and suicide.

Casey Pick, The Trevor Project’s senior fellow for advocacy and government, a nonprofit organization focused on preventing suicide among LGBTQ youth, applauded the ban in a press release:

The Trevor Project commends the State of Utah for taking bold action to protect thousands of LGBTQ young people in Utah from the discredited practice of conversion therapy. This is historic progress and further proof that protecting youth from this danger transcends regional or political divides.

Source: CNN, The Trevor Project

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