2018 was a big year for LGBTQ+ representation in media and politics. Now it’s time to ensure this type of visibility will catalyze change in our legal systems in 2019.
While 14 states and the District of Columbia already put laws into practice that prohibit licensed therapists from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation, there is still much work to be done. Sights are set on four more states—Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York—to join the ranks of those doing right by children.
“We’d be disappointed if we don’t get those this year—they’re overdue,” said Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, one of the groups campaigning to impose bans in all 50 states.
The campaign has gained popularity in the past year after two films, The Miseducation of Cameron Post and Boy Erased, highlighted the experiences of young people going through conversion therapy.
“They’re recognizing this is still a problem and joining our campaigns in droves,” Sam Brinton of The Trevor Project told Huffington Post.
Brinton has written about his experiences in conversion therapy sessions as an adolescent in Florida, including being bound to a table and having applications of ice, heat, and electricity.
Boy Erased was released four days after the midterm elections, which switched up the political dynamic at several statehouses and increased the likelihood for conversion therapy bans. Democratic Sen. Brad Hoylman predicted passage would be “straightforward” now that his party controls the Senate.
“For a lot of my colleagues, they consider conversion therapy to be child abuse,” he said.
Additionally, more Republican governors such as Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker are calling for the bans, reflecting activists’ belief the opposition to conversion therapy is increasingly bipartisan. While 2019 is getting off to a good start, we hope that these politicians are able to follow through with their campaigns and protect LGBTQ+ youth.