On Friday, New Mexico just became the seventh state to ban the practice of gay conversion therapy on minors.
Gay Conversion Therapy Banned
The Associated Press reports that Governor Susana Martinez signed legislation banning the use of conversion therapy intended to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity on minors.
The ban applies to licensed doctors, nurses, therapists and similar health care providers.
However, USA Today notes, the law leaves a gap. The ban applies to licensed health practitioners, but it leaves an opening to unlicensed practitioners, ministers and clergy.
Still, it’s a big step. It officially declares that gay conversion therapy is not a legitimate counseling practice.
Other states are working on similar legislation. A gay Connecticut lawmaker introduced a bill to ban the practice last month.
New Hampshire lawmakers tried to ban conversion therapy recently, but the bill was voted down by a committee that included a representative who co-founded a treatment center that performs the practice on minors.
Other, non-legislative bodies are fighting conversion therapy as well. Video hosting site Vimeo is taking down or rejecting videos that promote the procedure.
This comes even after the election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, the latter of whom is known to support gay conversion therapy. Practitioners of the sham therapy were thrilled at the election results, believing that the presidential administration would help them keep carrying out their psychological torture on minors. But maybe state governments will stand in the way.
What’s wrong with conversion therapy?
Gay conversion therapy is not a legitimate psychological procedure. It has never been proven to work, and there’s no reason why it should — being gay or trans isn’t a mental disorder that needs to be fixed.
But in addition to being useless, conversion therapy is actively harmful. It adds to LGBTQ kids’ low self-esteem and contributes to depression and suicide. Many of the procedures carried out during gay conversion therapy are psychologically or physically dangerous, with techniques ranging from electroconvulsive therapy to covert sexual abuse.