COLUMBUS– Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D – Columbus) testified today in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee on Senate Bill 74, which prohibits the practice of conversion therapy on minors in the state of Ohio. Conversion or reparative therapy aims to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. This practice has been disavowed by most medical and counseling associations for being both ineffective and harmful, especially to young people.

“The intent of Senate Bill 74 is to discourage the perception of homosexuality as a psychological disorder and prevent treatment that, in addition to being forty years out of date, is ineffective and provides harmful treatments to minors,” said Senator Tavares. “LGBTQ youth are not diseased or psychologically underdeveloped and should not be subjected to treatments that reinforce such futile and obsolete practices.” 

New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, and the District of Columbia have all banned the practice of conversion therapy. In April of 2015, President Obama urged all states to work to end the practice of conversion therapy for minors. President Obama made this announcement in part due to the national outcry after Cincinnati teen Leelah Alcorn committed suicide. Leelah was transgender and forced by her parents to undergo conversion therapy.

“We cannot allow any more of Ohio’s youth to suffer the devastating effects of conversion therapy,” stated Tavares. “I stand with the President, the various medical and counseling organizations, and the overwhelming scientific evidence to urge Ohio to become the 5th state to end this archaic practice.”

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