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Saving children from harmful "therapy" practices

biss-conversion-52915SPRINGFIELD — Today the Illinois General Assembly took a stand against subjecting Illinois children to harmful mental health practices. Sadly, many have been victims of a harmful pseudo-scientific procedure. It is called “gay conversion therapy,” and is an attempt to change a young person’s sexual orientation from gay to straight.

To eradicate this practice and protect our young people, Senator Daniel Biss (D – Evanston) passed legislation through the General Assembly today that will prohibit licensed mental health professionals from providing such therapies.

The legislation states that no one under 18 should be given therapy or referred to therapy that has a goal of changing his or her sexual orientation, and mental health providers that do so will be considered to have unprofessional conduct and will be disciplined accordingly.

"We must confront the reality that conversion therapy can cause anxiety, mental illness, trauma and can increase the risk of suicide,” said Senator Biss. “I will continue to fight for the rights and health of the LGBTQ community in Illinois, and to keep our children safe, just the way they are.”

Many organizations of mental health professionals, such as the Illinois Psychological Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Illinois Psychiatric Society are strongly opposed to this practice because they deem it to be dangerous.

“I am proud that our state now stands with President Obama and leaders and experts from across the country and stop putting our children directly in harms' way. My sincere thanks to Representative Kelly Cassidy for her leadership on this issue.”
The legislation, House Bill 217, now goes to the governor’s desk for final approval.

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