Hawaii Moves to Ban Gay Conversion Therapy for Children


On Friday, Hawaiian lawmakers moved to Make America Gay Again and passed a bill which would make theirs the 12th state to ban gay conversion “therapy” on minors. Hawaii News Now reports that Governor David Ige is expected to sign the ban into law. Maryland lawmakers also passed a ban earlier this month and are waiting for Governor Larry Hogan to sign it.

The move reflects a sweep of state initiatives to ban the practice based on a growing consensus amongst the medical and mental health community that conversion is psychologically torturous and fraudulent. The bill cites the American Psychological Association’s finding that “change efforts” can cause “depression, suicidality, loss of sexual feeling, anxiety, shame, negative self-image, and other negative feelings and behaviors.” In January, a report from the UCLA School of Law estimated that 698,000 American adults have been subjected to gay conversion therapy, about half of whom were minors at the time.

Unfortunately, the text of the bill applies only to licensed medical and counseling professionals, not religious or spiritual advisors; California is now considering classifying conversion therapy as a fraudulent business practice, which could help.

For updates, follow the LGBTQ youth suicide prevention initiative the Trevor Project, which is tracking dozens of campaigns to ban conversion therapy nationwide.

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