Once signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York will become the 15th state to pass legislation protecting LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy, and the first state to prohibit the practice in 2019
ALBANY, N.Y. —Today, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed S1046/A576, a bill that protects LGBTQ youth from the practice of conversion therapy. Born Perfect, The National Center for Lesbian Rights’ campaign to end conversion therapy, has worked on the ground since 2013 to advocate for the passage of this landmark bill to stop this harmful and discredited practice. Born Perfect is proud of the work Senator Brad Hoylman, the bill’s sponsor, has done to elevate the voices of survivors and to ensure that New York protects its youth.
“After six years working alongside Assemblymember Glick and Senator Hoylman, I’m proud to see this bill pass for the first time by the New York State Senate. The trauma inflicted on me by conversion therapy is now illegal. This law will save many lives. What’s important now is to ensure that this law is enforced, as we know licensed conversion therapists continue to practice throughout the state” said conversion therapy survivor and Born Perfect Co-Founder Mathew Shurka. “I look forward to Governor Cuomo signing the bill into law to finally protect LGBTQ youth – a promise he made in 2015, and a promise he said he’d fulfill in the first 100 days of 2019.”
Born and raised in New York, Shurka was subjected to conversion therapy as a minor in Manhattan. Seeing four different licensed therapists over a period of five years, Shurka was separated from his mother and sisters in an effort to “de-feminize” him in order to change his sexual orientation—an experience that resulted in severe trauma, anxiety, depression, and suicidality.
Also referred to as “ex-gay therapy,” “reparative therapy,” or “sexual orientation change efforts,” conversion therapy attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The ineffective and dangerous practice has been discredited by the American Psychological Association—and every other major professional health and mental organization—and can lead to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and even suicide. According to the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, nearly 700,000 people in the United States have been subjected to conversion therapy, and half of those were minors. A 2018 study by Dr. Caitlin Ryan found that adolescents whose parents tried to change their sexual orientation and who took them to therapists and religious leaders for conversion interventions were significantly more likely to attempt suicide.
Once the bill is signed into law, New York will be the 15th state to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy. Media outlets have previously misreported that New York State passed a ban on conversion therapy, mistaking Governor Cuomo’s 2016 Executive Order—which barred health care insurers from supporting conversion therapy—as legislation that fully prohibited conversion therapy statewide.
Today’s bill signing was the result of targeted grassroots advocacy efforts by NCLR, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and local advocacy groups.
Born Perfect is a campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.