FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2019
Contact: Shannon Minter, NCLR Legal Director
NCLR and Born Perfect Applaud Massachusetts for Becoming the 16th State to Protect LGBTQ Youth from Conversion Therapy
“This is a huge victory for LGBTQ youth and their parents in Massachusetts”
(Boston, MA, April 8, 2019) — Today, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed H140 into law, making Massachusetts the sixteenth state, in addition to Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, to prevent licensed mental health professionals from attempting to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
“This is a huge victory for LGBTQ youth and their parents in Massachusetts,” said Mathew Shurka, strategist for Born Perfect, the national campaign to end conversion therapy. Shurka, a survivor of conversion therapy, testified about his firsthand experience with the harms caused by conversion therapy to Massachusetts legislators and urged them to pass the bill. “These unethical practices destroy families and cause lasting harm to young people who urgently need acceptance and support.”
“As in many other states, this has been a truly bipartisan effort to address one of the most important public health issues of our time,” said Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which provides legal assistance and support to state advocates and legislatures seeking to protect minors from conversion therapy. “We are grateful to the Massachusetts Coalition to Ban Conversion Therapy for Minors and to the many parents, advocates, therapists, survivors, and elected officials who have worked so hard to educate the legislature and the public about the dangers of conversion therapy. Special thanks go to Representative Khan and Senator Cyr, the bill’s chief sponsors, and to Republican Governor Charlie Baker for signing the bill.”
Every leading medical and mental health organization in the U.S. has warned that conversion therapy is ineffective and unethical and put minors, in particular, at heightened risk of depression and suicide attempts. Organizations that have condemned this harmful practice include: the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, and the National Association of School Psychologists, among others.
A recent study by the Family Acceptance Project found that LGBTQ youth who are subjected to conversion efforts by parents were nearly twice as likely to attempt suicide as other LGBTQ youth. Suicide attempts nearly tripled for LGBTQ young people who reported both home-based efforts to change their sexual orientation by parents and intervention efforts by therapists and religious leaders.
The Williams Institute estimates that about 57,000 LGBTQ young people will receive conversion therapy from therapists or religious counselors before they turn 18.
The Massachusetts bill was supported by NCLR, BornPerfect, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, the Human Rights Campaign, the Trevor Project, the Massachusetts Coalition to Ban Conversion Therapy for Minors, and other local advocacy groups.
Born Perfect is a campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.www.nclrights.org/our-work/bornperfect/