Florida becomes first state to introduce legislation protecting LGBT youth from conversion therapy

Jose Javier Rodriguez introduced the new Senate Bill 84 this week


Words: Steve Brown

Florida has become the first state to introduce a legislation protecting LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy.

Jose Javier Rodriguez, Florida State Senator, introduced the new Senate Bill 84 to protect LGBT youth from receiving so-called ‘gay’ conversion therapy from licenced mental health practitioners, marking the first state to introduce legislation to end the archaic practice.

Rodriguez said: “In most states it is still legal to force children into conversion therapy and that is wrong.

“When it comes to this debunked practice, there is no conversion and there is no therapy. So-called conversion therapy does not work because youth are who they are.

“They should be supported rather than shamed. More importantly, the practice we seek to ban is not therapy.

“The long-term, even lethal, damage it does to youth is well documented. If you’re going to be a licenced practitioner in Florida, refraining from harming our youth with this debunked practice should be a basic requirement.”

In a poll last year, around 71 per cent of Floridians supported banning conversion therapy for minors and twenty local governments have since adopted bans to the so-called therapy.

Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of the Trevor Project, said: “The Trevor Project is deeply invested in ending conversion therapy in every state because we know youth who experience rejection from their family are more than eight times more likely to attempt suicide than youth from accepting families.

“Conversion therapy is a profoundly dangerous form of rejection with no basis in medicine or science. Unless lawmakers act to end the practice in every state, countless LGBTQ youth will be subjected to forms of conversion therapy in the next few years.”

Jon Harris Maurer, Equality Florida’s public policy director, added that conversion therapy is “deceptive and utterly discredited” to some of the most vulnerable in the state.

He added: “Conversion therapy is a deceptive and utterly discredited practice that targets some of the most vulnerable in our state - LGBTQ young people.

“It’s time to put an end this dangerous abuse disguised as medical treatment. Equality Florida applauds José Javier Rodríguez for filing this critical legislation that would protect young people from this fraudulent practice.”