Being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is not a mental illness. Yet, every day in California, some licensed mental health providers make dangerous claims they can make a person straight through counseling. Youth are often subjected to these practices at the insistence of parents, who, however well meaning, don’t know or don’t believe the practice is harmful. These sexual orientation change efforts—sometimes called “ex-gay therapy”, “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy”--pose critical health risks, including depression, shame, decreased self-esteem, social withdrawal, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide.
For minors, the risks of long-term mental and physical health consequences are particularly severe.
Senate Bill 1172, sponsored by Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights and authored by Senator Ted Lieu, will protect young people from psychological abuse by banning any efforts by licensed mental health providers to change a minor patient's sexual orientation. If approved, it will be the first law of its kind in the nation.
On Wednesday, May 30, the California Senate will likely vote on this important piece of legislation. Opponents of equality have mobilized in an effort to defeat this bill and it's critical that members of the Senate hear from Californians like you who support Senate Bill 1172 prior to the floor vote on Wednesday.
We need your support to help us put a stop to this dangerous and damaging practice. This is one of the most important bills we have ever sponsored. Take a moment to send a letter to your senator now!
Click here to email your senator!