The Michigan state legislature advanced two bills on Wednesday that would prohibit mental health professionals from subjecting LGBTQ minors to anti-LGBTQ “conversion therapy.”
Health professionals widely agree that the discredited pseudo-therapeutic practice — which attempts to change an LGBTQ person’s sexual orientation or gender identity — is incredibly dangerous. Indeed, decades of studies have demonstrated that undergoing such treatment increases a person’s likelihood of experiencing depression and attempting suicide, and many survivors of the practice have likened it to torture.
LGBTQ youth already experience higher rates of depression and suicidal ideation than their heterosexual and cisgender peers — and research published in 2020 from the University of California Los Angeles found that people who were subjected to conversion therapy were almost twice as likely to attempt suicide than those who were not subjected to or threatened with such treatment.
These numbers are likely an undercount, as the study did not include transgender people in its research and focused only on lesbian, gay and bisexual people in adulthood, not youth who were forced to undergo the harmful practice.
In spite of the demonstrated dangers of conversion therapy, some far right conservatives have voiced support for keeping the practice available under the guise of protecting “parental rights.”
According to a survey from the Trevor Project, in the year 2022, 11 percent of LGBTQ children in the U.S. said they were threatened with conversion therapy by their parents, with another 6 percent saying they were actually subjected to it.
Twenty-one states plus Washington D.C. have passed laws banning conversion therapy. Michigan is aiming to become the next state on that list.
The two bills that would ban its use in the state passed along party lines, with 56 Democrats voting in their favor on Wednesday and 53 Republicans voting against them. The measures now go to the Democratic-controlled state Senate, where they’re expected to pass. They will then advance to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who is expected to sign them into law.
LGBTQ groups celebrated the advancement of the bills on Wednesday.
“Michigan’s LGBTQ+ youth should be free from needless attacks and torture, and deserve to live in a state where they can be healthy, safe, and reach their full potential. This legislation…is an important step in making Michigan a safer place for LGBTQ+ youth and their families,” Equality Michigan Action Network wrote in a series of tweets on Wednesday night.
“LGBTQ+ youth deserve to be accepted and supported without exception! We are now one step closer to codifying this life saving legislation into law and becoming the 22nd state with statewide legislative protections against ‘ct,'” Human Rights Campaign in Michigan said.
We need your help to propel Truthout into the new year
As we look toward the new year, we’re well aware of the obstacles that lie in the path to justice. But here at Truthout, we are encouraged and emboldened by the courage of people worldwide working to move us all forward — people like you.
If you haven’t yet made your end-of-year donation to support our work, this is the perfect moment to do so: Our year-end fundraising drive is happening now, and we must raise $150,000 by the end of December.
Will you stand up for truly independent, honest journalism by making a contribution in the amount that’s right for you? It only takes a few seconds to donate by card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, or Venmo — we even accept donations of cryptocurrency and stock! Just click the red button below.