NYC’s City Council voted on Thursday to outlaw conversion therapy, or the immoral (not to mention discredited) practice of trying to reverse a patient’s sexuality or take on their assigned gender at birth.
“Conversion therapy is a form of psychological torture—plain and simple,” said one of the bill’s sponsors, Councilman Danny Dromm. “As ridiculous as it seems, the practice still persists, even in New York.”
The legislation is now awaiting a signature by Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie has already confirmed they are reviewing the bill.
“We will ensure all individuals will be able to live without fear or coercion to change into someone they are not,” agreed council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
The bill will ban practice citywide for patients of any age. Under the current legislation, providing said therapy would be punishable by civil fines up to $1,000 for the first offense, $5,000 for the second violation, and $10,000 for each violation afterwards. However, people who do the therapy for free, such as clergy members, will not be affected.
While this is a step in the right direction for New York City, unfortunately New York state—along with the rest of the nation—still has a lot of catching up to do. Conversion therapy has only been outlawed in 9 states (plus D.C.) and 25 cities. According to the Movement Advancement Project, a reported estimate of 73 percent of the LGBTQ+ population lives in states with no laws banning conversion therapy for minors. There’s also been concern since the 2016 presidential race about Vice President Mike Pence, who is believed to be a supporter of conversion therapy.
Between the beliefs held by the current presidential administration and the current state of the United States, there is no such thing as being too careful. We need reform and we need it now.