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Conversion therapy will be illegal for *all* ages if California’s history-making bill passes


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Photo: Stocksy/Carolyn Lagattuta

The United States’ track record regarding its treatment of minorities and people of color is fraught with an endless stream of subjugation, bias, and violence. One manifestation of that discrimination is conversion therapy, a pseudoscientific practice that attempts to change people’s sexual orientation. And although 10 states and Washington, DC, have laws preventing conversion therapy on minors only, according to the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), one state is stepping up to eradicate the practice for adults as well.

This week, California took steps to become the first state to ban conversion therapy on children and adults by passing a bill (AB-2943) through the California Assembly, Teen Vogue reports. If the California bill succeeds (it still needs to pass the Senate), any person or business practicing conversion therapy could be charged with a number of crimes, including fraud and exposing the subject to psychological abuse.

Although the Human Rights Campaign has repeatedly discredited conversion therapy as a “dangerous” practice, it’s still performed around the country: In fact, 698,000 LGBT adults ages 18 to 59 have received conversion therapy in the United States. Even Vice President Mike Pence reportedly supports it. And right now, 40 states don’t have laws against conversion therapy, notes MAP (a think tank focused on LGBTQ issues)—but that may change soon.

“So-called conversion therapy is a dangerous, ineffective solution in search of a nonexistent problem, and there’s no place for it in the State of California.” —Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California

Last year, the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act was introduced in the US Congress and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; it would effectively ban conversion therapy nationwide by rendering it illegal to make money off the practice.

“So-called conversion therapy is a dangerous, ineffective solution in search of a nonexistent problem, and there’s no place for it in the State of California,” Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, an LGBTQ civil rights group, told Teen Vogue.

Hopefully, these efforts are signs that the fight against conversion therapy and other discriminatory practices are picking up speed. California is certainly a trend-setter when it comes to cruelty-free legislation, after all.

Celebrate the LGBTQ community with Chromat’s empowering gender-noncomforming ethos and Nan Goldin’s Instagram account.

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