Rhode Island Legislature passes bill to protect youth from ‘conversion therapy’

The Rhode Island legislature passed a bill which protects minors from ‘conversion therapy’- sometimes referred to as “sexual orientation change efforts” or “reparative therapy” that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. These practices are based on the false understanding that being LGBTQ is a psychological illness that needs to be cured- a claim that has been rejected a number of times by medical professionals. On the contrary, research has shown that such practices have a long-term devastating health risks for individuals such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse and even suicidal behaviour. Such practices are nothing short of social and psychological torture for children.

After clearing the House, House Bill (HB) 5277 passed through the Senate and will now proceed to the governor’s desk. Rhode Island may become the eleventh jurisdiction – and the fourth state in the current year – to enact these crucially important protections. Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, and New Mexico all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this abusive practice.