Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.
(Washington, D.C., November 28, 2012)—Today, United States Congresswoman Jackie Speier introduced the landmark “Stop Harming Our Kids” resolution, which calls on states to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth from dangerous and discredited practices by mental health professionals who falsely claim to be able to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
These practices have been rejected as ineffective and harmful by every leading medical and mental health organization in the country. On September 29, 2012, California became the first state to protect minors from these dangerous practices— which include the use of shame, verbal abuse, and aversion therapy—when Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1172 into law. The law, which goes into effect January 1, 2013, prohibits state-licensed therapists from engaging in these practices with minors. NCLR helped draft the new law and worked with Equality California and other groups to pass it.
NCLR is working with a number of state advocates to draft and pass laws similar to California’s SB 1172. Those interested in pursuing a similar bill in their state can contact NCLR’s Geoff Kors at GKors @NCLRights.org.
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.:
“We applaud Congresswoman Speier for showing true leadership by shining a light on this important issue. We join her in urging states to protect young people and their families from this dangerous quackery, which has been condemned by every leading mainstream mental health organization in the country. NCLR is committed to working with Congresswoman Speier and state legislators to ensure that no young person is subjected to these dangerous practices and that no parent is deceived by therapists who falsely claim to be able to change a child’s core identity. Every child deserves acceptance and support, and families deserve honest, accurate information about how to protect their children.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.