A bill to protect young LGBT+ people from going through so-called gay conversion therapy has been put forward in the US state of New York and will be enacted once it is signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The New York State Assembly and Senate voted in favour of the bill on Tuesday, January 15, meaning New York will become the 15th US state to ban the harmful practice.
Democratic Senator Brad Hoylman said that the ban would make it illegal for health professionals “engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with patients under the age of 18.”
Trevor Project CEO Amit Paley praised the move, saying, “The State of New York is sending a clear message today that LGBTQ youth are perfect as they are.
“No one should face discrimination or the torture of conversion therapy because of who they love or who they are. We are proud that the New York legislators have acted decisively today to protect LGBTQ youth from the harms of so-called ‘conversion therapy.’
“We are grateful for Governor Cuomo’s leadership on this issue, and eagerly await his signature on this vital legislation.
“As much as New York is renowned for being friendly to LGBTQ people, we at The Trevor Project know that thousands of young New Yorkers have made use of our suicide prevention and crisis intervention services in the last year alone.
“Conversion therapy-related issues come up frequently, and the stories these youth tell us about being forced to try to change who they are or who they love would break your heart. Today’s votes will save lives.”
The ban has faced constant roadblocks as the New York State Senate has long been under Republican control, but Democrats took back control after the 2018 midterm elections.
Trevor Project head of advocacy and government affairs commented, “By passing this bill so early in the new year and with strong bipartisan support, New York is sending a powerful message that ending conversion therapy should be a priority.
“Thousands of local New Yorkers have contributed to the work of our ‘50 Bills 50 States’ initiative, and today they are seeing their efforts pay off.”
New York also passed another historic bill on the same day by introducing the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA, adding gender identity as a category protected from discrimination in areas such as housing, accommodation and the workplace.
Brinton added that he is “overjoyed to see New York state lawmakers come together to make a powerful statement of support for transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people.
“Updating New York’s human rights laws to include gender identity will go a long way to ease those fears and allowing transgender people to simply live their lives like anybody else.”
Director of the LGBT+ Bar Association of Greater New York Eric Lesh added, “This is truly a historic day. We are finally welcoming a fairer and more equal New York because of the bold and tireless leadership of trans and gender non-conforming New Yorkers.”
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