A bill has been passed in the New York State Legislature on Tuesday which prohibits licensed mental health professionals from practicing gay conversion therapy on minors.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed the bill making New York 15th state in the US to ban this widely-discredited practice. Other states which have banned this include Delaware, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Hawaii.
“New York has a reputation for diversity and inclusion and the Assembly Majority is committed to maintaining that reputation and protecting the rights of others,” said New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie in a statement. “Everyone has a right to live their life free from hostility and exclusion, and our youth deserve support in discovering their identity in a way that promotes happiness and positive mental health,” she added.
The American Psychological Association (APA) in 2009, condemned gay conversion therapy in a report, saying that “the practice treats homosexuality as a mental disorder, a concept that has been rejected by the mental health professions for more than 35 years.”
The bill states that “conversion therapy can pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people ranging from confusion and depression to substance abuse and suicide. New York has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth and in protecting its minors against exposure to serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts.”
Although, the bill has been passed by the New York, previously has faced a lot of resistance. Democratic Senator Brad Hoylman, who sponsored the bill said that it a very progressive step in banning the health professions from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts in patients who are under 18 years of age. He also tweeted about it once the bill was passed. He also added that “So-called conversion therapy is child abuse—plain and simple.”
The other bill which passed in the New York State Legislature is Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) which prohibits discrimination based on expression or gender identity adding protection for the transgender New Yorkers to the state’s Hate Crime law. The bill was put forward to the legislative body 17 years ago but had faced problem in the Senate.
The bill passed the Assembly every year since 2008 but never moved in the Republican-led Senate. Democratic assembly member Richard Gottfried said GENDA was able to pass largely due to the New York Senate’s newly-elected Democratic majority.
Mr Gottfried said in a statement, “The Assembly has passed the bill 11 times, but the Senate’s Republican Majority refused to let the bill have a floor vote. Today, the new Democratic Majority has joined us in protecting the rights of New Yorkers regardless of gender identity or expression.”
Kiara St. James, co-founder of New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG) said that, “After some 17 years of fighting for GENDA—a civil rights bill that will give transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers recourse to fight discriminatory anti-TGNC policies (Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Policy), we at long last TGNC New Yorkers no longer have to hide in the shadows for fear of being targeted. GENDA gives TGNC New Yorkers long overdue CODIFIED protections that cis-gender folks take for granted. Now we all can truly bask in the sunshine of equality in New York State.”
Source: syracuse.com, pinknews.co.uk, independent.co.uk, huffingtonpost.in