For the first time in Missouri, HB 2141, focused on banning so-called “conversion therapy” has been filed by Rep. Tracy McCreery. The Youth Mental Health Preservation Act states that “state licensed professionals cannot engage in any form of conversion therapy of a minor.”
Rep. McCreery added, “Conversion therapy is a dangerous practice that needs to be stopped. Lawmakers should be doing everything in our power to protect all children.”
Missouri makes the fourth state (Arizona, Virginia, Washington) that has introduced legislation banning conversion therapy practices for minors by licensed therapists in 2018.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, LGBT youth who are highly rejected by their parents are more than eight times as likely to attempt suicide compared to LGBT youth who were not rejected or even a little rejected.*
What is conversion therapy?
Conversion therapy, also referred to as “reparative therapy,” “ex-gay therapy,” and “sexual orientation change efforts,” is a widely discredited practice that attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Practices to “cure” individuals of their same-sex sexual orientations and transgender identities include a number of techniques ranging from shaming to hypnosis to inducing vomiting to electric shocks.
These practices have been condemned by the American Counseling Association, American Medical Association, and American Psychiatric Association. In 2009, the American Psychological Association (APA) issued a report** enumerating the direct risks of conversion therapy to include, among others: depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, and a distinct rise in suicidality.
There are no cities in Missouri in which conversion therapy is banned for minors. Nine states plus D.C. have passed similar legislation, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Several cities in Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania have also banned conversion therapy practices for minors.
What would the Youth Mental Health Preservation Act do?
These laws prohibit licensed mental health practitioners from subjecting minors to harmful “conversion therapy” practices that attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In need of help? Please contact the Trevor Project.