Connecticut Bans Conversion Therapy for Youth

Connecticut Bans Conversion Therapy for Youth

By: Tori Lubin ’18

Legislation signed by Governor Dannel P. Malloy on May 10 officially prohibits mental health professionals from using conversion therapy on minors, a practice which involves attempting to alter a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

“I think that anytime that any of these conversion therapy bills are passed that it’s basically an advancement for human rights, period,” Chris Fray, faculty advisor of the Genders Sexualities Alliance club and Mandarin teacher said.

The bill passed unanimously in the Connecticut Senate, making it the eighth state in the United States to initiate legal action against conversion therapy. California, District of Columbia, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Illinois, Oregon and Vermont passed similar laws.

“The fact that Connecticut banned it is a big thumbs up for us in the sense that we are showing that there is nothing wrong with you and you don’t need to change,” Xi Jones ’17 said. “It shows that Connecticut is open and welcoming to LGTBQ youth especially.”

Conversion therapy has been discredited by The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and The American Psychiatric Association, which have classified the practice as dangerous and unethical.

Depression, anxiety, body image issues, PTSD, substance use difficulties and suicidal thoughts are all side effects associated with the use of conversion therapy on teens.

“For a group that already feels disconnected in many ways with how the world is it [conversion therapy]  just ostracizes them in such a pervasive and punitive way,”  Dr. Alycia Dadd, school psychologist said. “I think a non-judgemental, accepting, validating, environment where people feel like they can openly talk about their struggles without judgment is really critical.”