Equality Florida today joined Senator José Javier Rodríguez (D-Miami) and Representative Michael Grieco (D-North Bay Village), mental health professionals, and advocates in the Florida Capitol to call on the Legislature to pass protections against conversion therapy for minors. Conversion therapy is a fraudulent and dangerous practice that seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Senator Rodríguez’s SB 180 and Representative Grieco’s HB 41 would prohibit licensed professionals from practicing conversion therapy on minors.
Equality Florida, the state’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to securing full LGBTQ equality, has worked with community groups and advocates for years to oppose conversion therapy.
“No mainstream medical or mental health association supports conversion therapy. It’s not just ineffective, it can be deadly,” said Equality Florida Public Policy Director Jon Harris Maurer. “That’s why 18 states and 21 local governments in Florida have already protected LGBTQ youth from this form of child abuse, while the Florida Legislature has refused to grant a hearing on statewide protections.”
“The idea that it is still legal to subject our youth to this aggressive and hurtful ‘treatment’ is unconscionable,” said Representative Grieco. “Treating sexual orientation and gender identity as a mental illness is demeaning. I’m once again carrying this legislation because we must put an end to conversion therapy’s devastating effects on LGBTQ youth and their families. It’s past time to make this practice history.”
“Forcing children into conversion therapy is wrong. When it comes to this debunked practice, there is no conversion and there is no therapy. LGBTQ youth should be supported rather than shamed,” said Senator Rodríguez. “The long-term, even lethal, damage that conversion therapy does to youth is well documented. If you’re going to hold a license in Florida, refraining from harming our youth with this debunked practice should be a basic requirement.”
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.