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Conversion therapy ban passes Colorado House, moves to Senate with positive prospects

Queer & There


With bi-partisan support, HB19-1129, a bill to ban conversion therapy for minors has passed out of Colorado’s House of Representatives with a 42-20 vote. This is the fifth year it has been introduced, but its prospects appear far better than previous years.

The bill, which would prohibit licensed mental health and medical professionals from attempting to change a minor’s gender identity or sexual orientation through therapy, has passed out of the House before, but typically finds itself in a Senate “kill committee” before it has a chance to reach the Senate floor for a vote. Democrats, who have sponsored and supported all versions of this bill for five years, now have control of the Senate, and may help this bill avoid its annual fate.

As nearly every medical and psychological organization and association has determined, conversion therapy increases a youth’s risk of depression, suicide and substance abuse. While this bill will not prohibit adults from seeking such therapy for themselves, it will ensure that parents and medical professionals no longer have the power to tell a child their identity is a mental disorder.

Currently 16 states have banned conversion therapy. The city of Denver remains the only Colorado municipality to have enacted a ban of their own, which was finalized toward the end of 2018.

Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a press release: “This bill [HB19-1129] is about allowing Coloradans to be their authentic selves. This dangerous practice harms children and falsely makes them believe that something is wrong with them through the use of shame, rejection and psychological abuse.”

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