BOSTON, Mass.—The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today submitted testimony to the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, in support of House Bill No. 97 (HB97), An Act Relative to Abusive Practices to Change Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity in Minor. This bill will protect youth and their families from dangerous and discredited practices aimed at changing a young person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression.
Sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts, practiced through reparative or conversion therapy, are based on the false claim that being gay or transgender is a mental illness that needs to be cured. This view has been widely rejected by medical and mental health professionals, citing dangers of depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness and even suicidal behavior. [pullquote]“Conversion therapy is a serious threat to the health and well-being of young people. No one in Massachusetts should ever be shamed by a medical professional into thinking that who they are is wrong. …”—Melissa Garlick, ADL New England Associate Regional Director[/pullquote]
Melissa Garlick, ADL New England Associate Regional Director, issued the following statement:
“Conversion therapy is a serious threat to the health and well-being of young people. No one in Massachusetts should ever be shamed by a medical professional into thinking that who they are is wrong. Medical and mental health professionals should provide care that is ethical, affirming and puts the well-being of the Commonwealth’s youth first.”
California, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Oregon have already enacted laws protecting youth from conversion therapy, and more than a dozen states have introduced similar legislation. ADL urges Massachusetts to join them by passing House Bill No. 97.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.
[From a News Release]