Delaware Becomes 14th State (+DC) to Protect LGBTQ Youth from Conversion Therapy
Today, July 23, 2018, Delaware Governor John Carney signed into law SB 65, legislation that protects LGBTQ youth from the practice of conversion therapy. Every major medical and mental health organization has denounced conversion therapy as both harmful and ineffective. Delaware State Senators Debra Heffernan and Harris McDowell, III sponsored this legislation and worked with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) to draft. NCLR has been standing up on behalf of survivors of conversion therapy for the past 20 years. In 2014, NCLR launched Born Perfect, a campaign to end conversion therapy nationwide.
“Today, Delaware took a stand to protect LGBTQ youth from harmful ineffective conversion therapy,” said conversion therapy survivor and NCLR Born Perfect Strategist Mathew Shurka. “Delaware is now a safer place for LGBTQ youth, and we are one step closer to protecting LGBTQ youth nationwide.”
Conversion therapy—also referred to as “ex-gay therapy” or “reparative therapy”— attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It has been shown to lead to higher instances of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and even suicide.
Through the Born Perfect campaign, NCLR has secured legislation protecting youth from these dangerous practices in 14 states. Momentum to stop conversion therapy is growing. With Delaware’s bill signing, 2018 just broke a record for the number of states (five) to pass and sign laws prohibiting conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth in one year.
Today’s bill signing was the result of targeted grassroots advocacy efforts by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), local advocacy group Equality Delaware, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). This legislation was also publicly supported by The Trevor Project.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.NCLRights.org