Thursday, December 8

First hearing held on SB 50 to ban conversion therapy on minors in Ohio

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A first hearing was held on Wednesday in the Health Committee of the Ohio Senate for SB 50, which would prohibit certain licensed health care professionals from engaging in conversion therapy when treating minor patients.

Conversion therapy — also sometimes called reparative or reintegrative therapy — is a set of widely condemned practices designed to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Conversion therapy practices have been banned in more than 20 states and rejected by every major medical association, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association.

SB 50 would impose sanctions on health care professionals who engage in conversion therapy on minors, including revoking their license or certificate of registration.

Wednesday’s hearing consisted solely of sponsor testimony from Senators Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester).

“Conversion therapy does not work and is often deeply traumatizing for those who undergo it, especially for minors whose brains are still developing,” said Antonio. “It enforces the idea that they should be ashamed of who they are and can lead to lower self-esteem, depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts. Sexual orientation is not a disorder, nor is it pathological.”

In October, the practice of conversion therapy on minors was banned in Akron and Cleveland, joining nine other Ohio municipalities to prohibit the discredited practice: Athens, Cincinnati, Cleveland Heights, Columbus, Dayton, Kent, Lakewood, Reynoldsburg and Toledo.

“We cannot allow one more person to be targeted by these dangerous and discredited practices,” said Maharath. “Banning conversion therapy will protect Ohio’s youth from harm and affirm that being LGBTQ+ is not a disorder that can be treated, but rather something completely natural and valid.” 🔥

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About Author

Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame. He received the 2021 Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBTQ Journalist of the Year from the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. He is the author of "Seriously, What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew" (2017), "LGBTQ Cleveland" (2018), "LGBTQ Columbus" (2019), and "LGBTQ Cincinnati" (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University.

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