The bad news is that conversion therapy exists at all. The good news is that Hawaii is set to become the 12th state to ban the practice for minors.
“This has been a priority of the caucus for years,” said Hawaii State Rep. Michael Golojuch (D), the chairman of the LGBT Caucus of Hawaii’s Democratic Party, according to Hawaii News Now.
The UCLA School of Law released a report in January, estimating that 698,000 American adults have been subjected to gay conversion therapy, about half of whom were minors at the time.
Conversion therapy came about because of the belief that gender identity and sexuality is a choice and can be “converted.” Thankfully, Hawaii’s legislature realizes that that is a load of homophobic nonsense. The legislation, SB 270, discusses “sexual orientation change efforts” as a practice that has no scientific backing and can cause “depression, suicidality, loss of sexual feeling, anxiety, shame, negative self-image, and other negative feelings and behaviors,” according to the American Psychological Association.
“The purpose of this Act is to protect the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, against exposure to serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts,” the bill reads.
Several states, including California, Oregon and New Jersey, have already passed similar laws preventing minors from going through conversion therapy. Maryland passed legislation banning the practice earlier this month. We hope that the rest of our states will follow this precedent and prevent any more children from suffering through this homophobic, irrational, ridiculous process.
Unfortunately, the text of the bill applies only to licensed medical and counseling professionals, meaning that religious figures can still subject youth to conversion therapy. But we hope this sets a precedent to further eradicate this harmful practice.