Gov. Brown signs SB1172, protecting youth from psychological abuseBreaking News, Top Highlights Sunday, September 30th, 2012
California became the first state in the nation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth (LGBT) from the dangers of psychological abuse by deceitful mental health professionals, who falsely claim to be able to change their sexual orientation or gender expression. The historic event came yesterday when California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a landmark bill that will protect LGBT young people from these dangerous practices, including the use of shame, verbal abuse and aversion therapy, that place youth at high risk of depression and suicide. With Gov. Brown’s signature, the law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2013, prohibits state licensed therapists from engaging in these practices with minors.
Authored by Sen. Ted Lieu, Senate Bill 1172 was co-sponsored by Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal, and Mental Health America of Northern California, and supported by dozens of organizations.
“Gov. Brown today reaffirmed what medical and mental health organizations have made clear: Efforts to change minors’ sexual orientation are not therapy, they are the relics of prejudice and abuse that have inflicted untold harm on young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians,” said Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California board president. “We thank Sen. Ted Lieu and Gov. Brown for their efforts in making California a leader in banning this deceptive and harmful practice.”
Added NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell: “Gov. Brown has sent a powerful message of affirmation and support to LGBT youth and their families. This law will ensure that state-licensed therapists can no longer abuse their power to harm LGBT youth and propagate the dangerous and deadly lie that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder that can be ‘cured.’”
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin issued the following statement, “We’re grateful to Gov. Brown for standing with California‘s children. LGBT youth will now be protected from a practice that has not only been debunked as junk science, but has been proven to have drastically negative effects on their well-being. We commend Gov. Brown for putting children first, and call on all states to take California’s lead on this issue. We will continue our fight against this kind of child abuse, which has been deemed harmful to children by all major mental health, medical, and child welfare organizations.”
Ryan Kendall, a survivor of the practice who testified in the Perry v. Brown legal challenge to Proposition 8, described his experience earlier this summer to the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee: “As a young teen, the anti-gay practice of so-called conversion therapy destroyed my life and tore apart my family. In order to stop the therapy that misled my parents into believing that I could somehow be made straight, I was forced to run away from home, surrender myself to the local department of human services, and legally separate myself from my family. At the age of 16, I had lost everything. My family and my faith had rejected me, and the damaging messages of conversion therapy, coupled with this rejection, drove me to the brink of suicide.”
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