California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a multistate coalition in defending a Colorado law that prohibits gay and transgender conversion therapy on children and youth. Conversion therapy is a cruel, harmful, and ineffective form of treatment that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Colorado’s Minor Conversion Therapy Law, which bans licensed health professionals from practicing conversion therapy on minors, is being challenged in a lawsuit at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Chiles v. Salazar. Today’s amicus brief filed by the 20 states supports Colorado’s ban on conversion therapy because it is not a safe or effective treatment for any condition, puts minors at risk of serious harms, including increased risks of suicide and depression, and falls below the standard of care for mental health practitioners.
“Not only is conversion therapy a serious threat to the lives and health of LGBTQ people, it’s also completely ineffective,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Being gay or transgender is not a ‘disorder’ that can or needs to be ‘cured’. I stand with my fellow attorneys general today in full support of Colorado and other states’ conversion therapy bans, which are crucial to protecting our kids and our most vulnerable residents. My office will continue fighting to ensure no child or young person is ever again put through the indignity and emotional trauma of such dangerous, ignorant interventions.”
Conversion therapy, also referred to as sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts or reparative therapy, encompasses a range of interventions that attempt to “cure” a person’s sexuality or gender identity. The overwhelming medical consensus is that such interventions are ineffective and increase the risk of suicide and lifelong mental illness. In 2012, California became the first state to enact legislation – SB 1172 – banning conversion therapy on anyone under 18 years of age. In hearings on the bill, legislators heard “horror stories” of conversion therapy, including from a woman who testified that she underwent electric shocks and was given drugs to induce vomiting at age 14 at a conversion therapy camp.