A bill to ban conversion therapy among teens has passed the California State Senate, a move which means it will now go to the Assembly for approval.
Conversion therapy is the idea that a member of the LGBT community can become straight through the use of a type of psychotherapy. The Huffington Post reports that the bill, called SB1172, passed on Wednesday with a 23-13 vote.
Senator Ted W. Lieu (D-Torrence) stated during the hearing that:
“The entire medical community is opposed to these phony therapies. These non-scientific efforts have led in some cases to patients later committing suicide, as well as severe mental and physical anguish. It’s not just that people are wasting their time and money on these therapies that don’t work, it’s that these therapies are dangerous.”
KMJNOW radio reports that Lieu also stated:
“Reparative therapy has no medical basis. It is also known as gay conversion therapy. It is the misplaced belief that you can convert someone who is gay or lesbian to straight through therapy and the medical community has rejected this. They have said not only is there no medical data, but it can be dangerous.”
According to NBC Bay Area, Psychiatrist Dr. Manuj Nangia at the San Jose Integrative Wellness Center stated that the American Psychiatric Association does not support conversion therapy. She stated that the ban will hopefully, “protect kids from engaging in something that could be potentially harmful to them.” Many people who have undergone this kind of treatment, like Peter Drake of San Francisco, have actually felt worse after going through with it. Drake stated:
“I was so depressed I was suicidal. Where it started to get discouraging was when the therapist told me to play more sports, like gay men don’t play sports. Then I was told to look at pictures of women and try to lust after them.”
NBC Bay Area reports that Dr. Nangia also stated:
“What conversion therapy does is view being gay as a choice, that the individual chooses whether or not to be heterosexual instead of seeing it as a biological phenomenon and for a young person developing their sense of self this approach can be harmful because it encourages them to be something they’re not.”