New York City has officially made conversion therapy illegal, marking a huge milestone in protecting the LGBTQ+ community.
What is Local Law 22?
Although the ban was voted on in December 2017, it has not been made official until recently. Local Law 22 of 2018 makes it illegal for any person to offer or provide “conversion therapy” for a fee. “Conversion therapy” means any services that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
"Apicha Community Health Center hails this enlightened action by Councilmember Dromm and Speaker Johnson and is heartened by their leadership on this issue," Apicha CHC CEO, Therese Rodriguez, said. "Throughout its history, Apicha CHC has witnessed firsthand the detrimental impact caused by conversion therapy and internalized homophobia. We share NYC’s vision of creating a just and equal society for all of its inhabitants and are optimistic for a future that includes no discriminated class of people."
Over the course of New York City's progress in protecting LGBTQ+ rights, banning conversion therapy is a big step forward. Although the ban is not yet statewide, New York state elected officials have been pushing for the ban. Other states, such as California and Illinois, have already banned conversion therapy.
The NYC law does not apply to services that provide assistance to a person undergoing gender transition or counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person’s sexual orientation or facilitates a person’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development.
What is conversion therapy?
Conversion therapy, sometimes known as “reparative therapy,” is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Well known medical and mental health organizations, like the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychiatric Association, have rejected the notion that conversion therapy is a valid practice.
Unfortunately, many minors have been subject to conversion therapy, which can lead to an increase in depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide. You can learn more about the rejection of conversion therapy here.