News (USA)

Calif. Congresswoman to introduce resolution targeting reparative therapy

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) has announced that she will introduce a House resolution on Wednesday, Nov. 28, asking the U.S. House of Representatives to encourage states to take steps to prevent minors from being harmed by controversial and discredited gay-to-straight conversion therapy.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.)

Jenny Werwa, Speier’s Communications Director, told LGBTQ Nation on Tuesday that the Congresswoman’s efforts stem from the recent, “well publicized tragic examples of the harmful psychological abuse inflicted on young Americans by these dangerous sexual orientation conversion practices,” also known as reparative therapy, which aims to convert or “repair” an individual’s sexual orientation.

Werwa said that Speier’s office has been working closely in recent months with Christine Sun, Legal Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out, a Vermont-based watch group that has tracked “Ex-Gay” organizations and therapists who practice reparative therapy.

Speier’s legislative effort, a House resolution entitled “Stop Harming Our Kids” (SHOK), was inspired by California’s recent passage of legislation authored by State Sen. Ted Lieu, which prohibits reparative therapy for minors. The historic bill was signed into law on Sept. 29 by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Speier has also been investigating whether taxpayer funded programs such as Medicaid or TRICARE healthcare programs have been used to reimburse therapists who practice conversion therapy.

Speier will discuss the resolution and her efforts at a press conference on Wednesday, and is expected to be joined by advocacy leaders and survivors of sexual orientation change practices. Sheldon Bruck, a plaintiff in a new lawsuit against a New Jersey organization for offering fraudulent conversion therapy services, will share his story.

Ashland Johnson, from National Center for Lesbian Rights and Brian Moulton, representing the Human Rights Campaign, will also attend.

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