Achieving LGBT Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Views & Analysis

October 2, 2012

“Quackery” No More—CA Gov. Brown Signs Bill Protecting LGBT Youth From Psychological Abuse

“Relegated to the dustbin of quackery.”

When I read those words from California Governor Jerry Brown after he signed Senate Bill 1172— the bill protecting LGBT minors from deceitful mental health professionals who falsely claim they can change sexual orientation or gender expression—into law, I thought “FINALLY!”

With that powerful and apt description, Governor Brown has intervened to save current and future generations of young people from being subjected to a discredited, denounced, harmful, and barbaric practice at the hands of state-licensed therapists in California.

And what’s more is that YOU made this happen. Donors just like you who have given whatever they can, whenever they can have made this victory possible. NCLR led the way on this bill, making it an organizational priority to end this horrific practice. And now that we have won in California, we are taking it to other states across the country.

Will you donate today to help us bring the shameful and unconscionable psychological abuse of so-called “conversion therapy” to an end across the United States? Your gift of $25, $40, or even $75 will bring these protections to other states that have already been in contact with us to make this the law there.

I heard the news that the Governor was signing this bill on Saturday night. In the days since, I have come to the full realization of what this means, and can hardly maintain my composure. Over the past 18 years I have been at NCLR, I have heard many stories from men and women who were subjected to this psychological abuse, most when they were young teenagers. Because there are no standards for this sort of quackery, the range and shocking nature of these practices is alarming and harrowing. But every story has one thing in common: the young people subject to this abuse all feel as if they were living in a nightmare, betrayed by the parents who professed to love them and abused by therapists with deeply anti-LGBT views. These teenagers grow up bearing the deep scars of their “treatment”—that is, if they make it to adulthood.

The true consequences of these state-licensed practices have been depression, self-harm, low self-esteem, substance abuse, alienation from family, and suicide. The human toll has been staggering. But with this new law in California, we intend to end this abuse nationwide. Enough is enough.

This practice dupes parents, harms kids, enriches charlatans, and destroys relationships and families. This bill is one of the most important things we have ever worked on—and since you know us, you know that is saying something.

Our opponents, who are fine with the abuse of LGBT young people, have announced plans to challenge this law in court. We will be here to defend the law at every step. But we need you. Legislators in other states have reached out wanting to enact such a law in their own states to protect their young people. We stand ready to help in every state with leaders who want to protect kids. But we can’t do it without you. Your gift today will tell us that you know how important this law is, and that you are ready to help us take it nationwide.

We need and deserve a society where parents are not duped by fraudulent claims that sexual orientation or gender expression can or should be changed. Our kids deserve a society where they are not made ashamed of who they are, and where they cannot be harmed by state-licensed therapists.

We can defend this law and we can help enact more laws like it in other willing states. But we cannot do either alone. We need your support and investment. You know we can do this. You know we mean what we say. You know we will make you proud. Please stand with us today.

 

In solidarity,

Kate Kendell, Esq., NCLR Executive Director

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