News (USA)

Rhode Island bans ex-gay ‘conversion therapy’ torture aimed at LGBT youth

Rhode Island bans ex-gay ‘conversion therapy’ torture aimed at LGBT youth
Protesters demonstrate outside a gathering for the National Association For Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) in Phoenix, Ariz., in 2013. Photo: DAVID CRARY, AP

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, has passed a bill into law banning licensed health care providers from using so-called gay conversion therapy to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Providence Journal reports Rhode Island has become the 10th state along with Washington D.C. to pass such a law. It is the fourth state this year to enact protections for LGBT youth.

The law bars providers from advertising or engaging in conversion therapy for those under 18. It does not bar religious leaders or adults who choose the therapy.

The American Psychiatric Association says conversion therapy is not effective and possibly harmful. The association says there is no evidence changing childhood gender behaviors affects later sexual orientation.

The American Psychological Association, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics also oppose the dangerous practice.

The Human Rights Campaign supported the Democratic governor’s decision, saying no child should be put through the “dangerous and inhumane practice.”

“Medical professionals agree this outdated and discredited practice not only doesn’t work, but can also have life-threatening consequences. It is nothing short of child abuse,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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