Cory Booker | Photo: Marc Nozell, Flickr, CC.02
The US today became one step closet to a blanket ban on conversion therapy as a California congressperson has introduced today (28 June) a federal ban on the practise.
Ted Lieu, who authored the nation’s first ban on the practise in his home state in 2012, introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2019 to the House of Representatives.
Moreover, senators Patty Murray and Cory Booker introduced the Senate companion bill today, too.
What could happen?
If lawmakers pass the measure, it would prohibit, as an unfair or deception act, commercial conversion therapy. This covers both reparative therapies based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Lieu and his supporters have had a rocky time with the measure in the past, as congresspeople and senators have struck it down.
Lieu originally bid the bill to the House of Representatives in 2015, where 96 cosponsored it.
Two years later, a re-introduction by Lieu was attempted. This time, Senator Patty Murray reintroduced the bill in the Senate.
The House bill had 110 cosponsors and the Senate counterpart had 25.
For the latest wave of attack, Lieu has pitched the bill into the House while Murray and presidential hopeful Cory Booker – fresh from the Democratic debates earlier this week – pitched it to the Senate.
‘Conversation therapy is a sham’
Upon introduction, Murray said in a statement: ‘Being LGBT or gender non-confirming is not a mental illness to be cured and should never be treated as such.
‘Conversation therapy is a sham – according to medicine and common sense – and is incredibly discriminatory and harmful towards members of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially children who already face increased harassment and discrimination.
‘While I’m proud of the example my home state of Washington modeled in banning conversion therapy years ago, we cannot rest until this despicable practice is banished to the dustbin of history across the nation.’
While Booker simply stated the practise ‘has no place in our society.’
Such a society is on the brink of happening. Earlier this month, Maine became the 18th state to ban conversion therapy.
While New York and Massachusetts have also enacted laws banning the practice this year.
What is conversion therapy?
Also called reparative therapy, medical organizations have widely critisized the treatment as traumatizing and harmful to minors.
In fact, the American Academy of Paediatrics warned against it as early as 1993. They said it reinforced anxiety and shame, but has been around for more than a century.
Despite such denouncement, the ‘therapy’ has remained common in pockets of the US.
The most common technique tends to be talk therapy. However, it is not uncommon for practioners to use aversion treatment. This includes inducing nausea, vomiting, and paralysis.
In some cases, practitioners use electric shock therapy.