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New Hampshire House Gets A Second Chance To Ban Conversion Therapy Saving Thousands Of LGBT Teens

New Reports Shows Tens Of Thousands Of Teens Subjected To Conversion Therapy
By The Time They Reach 18

On February 7th, the New Hampshire House will get another chance to do the right thing and ban “conversion therapy” in New Hampshire.  The bill, HB 587, first came up on January 9th, where Speaker Chandler voted to break the tie and kill the bill.  However, after the vote, Rep. Henry Parkhurst of Winchester called for a reconsideration vote.  Because Parkhurst voted in the majority, he can ask for a reconsideration vote, implying he has changed his mind and wants another chance to vote.

Previously, we have talked about the horrors of “conversion therapy” and laid out a number of reasons why it should be banned.

“Conversion therapy is a dangerous and discredited practice that is aimed at young people in order to change their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Senator Martha Fuller Clark.  “This harmful practice uses shame, rejection, and psychological abuse and can lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, and even suicide.”

“It is not therapy but child abuse that can lead to suicide; and should be illegal,” said Mo Baxley, Former Executive Director of New Hampshire Freedom To Marry.

“Research suggests the treatment can worsen feelings of self-hatred and anxiety, because it encourages people to fight or hate a sexual orientation that can’t be changed [5 Surprising Facts About Gay Conversion Therapy],” wrote Tia Ghose for LiveScience.

This week, the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law released a shocking new report that showed that 20,000 adolescents between 13 and 17 will undergo conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional before the age of 18.  Another 57,000 will undergo conversion therapy from a religious or spiritual advisor.

The researchers also found that approximately 698,000 LGBT adults in the U.S have received conversion therapy at some point in their lives, including about 350,000 who received it as adolescents.

“Many professional health associations and the public support ending the use of conversion therapy on LGBT youth,” said Christy Mallory, the state and local policy director at the Williams Institute and lead author of the study. “Our research shows that laws banning conversion therapy could protect tens of thousands of teens from what medical experts say is a harmful and ineffective practice.”

A number of prominent national professional health associations — including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others — have issued public statements opposing the use of conversion therapy and several have called on Congress and state legislatures to pass laws that ban the practice.

For more than a century, health care professionals and religious figures have used a range of techniques to attempt to change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Currently, talk therapy is the most commonly used therapy technique. However, some practitioners have also used “aversion treatments,” such as inducing nausea, vomiting, paralysis or applying electric shocks.

“With such a large number of teens at risk of conversion therapy,” said study author Kerith Conron, Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and research director at the Williams Institute, “we must ensure that families, faith communities and service providers have accurate information about sexual orientation and gender identity and work to reduce stigma and promote acceptance of LGBT youth and their families.”

Lets hope that the New Hampshire House can get it right this time and ban this horrific practice, once and for all.

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About Matt Murray

Matt Murray is the creator and an author on the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor and progressive politics. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message. Follow him on Twitter @NHLabor_News
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