Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick today announced the passage of legislation that would prohibit mental health professionals from practicing conversion therapy with patients under the age of 18 for the purpose of changing their sexual orientation (A.3977, Glick).
"Individuals should not face discrimination or physical and psychological harm for being who they are," said Heastie. "We have a responsibility to protect all children and shaming or threatening them for their gender identity or expression is an egregious violation of that duty."
"Conversion therapy is a dangerous and discredited practice that has been rejected by mental health associations," said Assemblymember Glick. "It damages young lives, increases chances for depression and suicide, and must be banned."
Medical and mental health professionals have long concluded that being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency or shortcoming. The practice of conversion, or reparative, therapy has been discredited by reputable health and mental health providers as an ineffective and potentially damaging ordeal for LGBTQ individuals, many of whom have gone on to face heightened risks for confusion, depression, substance abuse and suicide.
The bill would require that any mental health professional that is found to have violated this prohibition would be subject to professional misconduct and its applicable penalties.