Mayor Introduces Legislation to Protect LGBTQ Youth

Mayor Introduces Legislation to Protect LGBTQ Youth

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Mayor Lovely A. Warren and City Councilmember Mitch Gruber are seeking to ban the so-called practice of “conversion therapy” within the City of Rochester.

“This controversial practice has been debunked and is seen by health professionals as detrimental and unhealthy for LGBTQ youth,” Mayor Warren said. “Our LGBTQ community deserves the same protections from discrimination as everyone else. In order to create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities, we must be a welcoming city that prides itself on its diversity.”

“Conversion therapy is based on a false and ugly premise: that there is something wrong with being LGBTQ,” said Councilmember Gruber. “By banning conversion therapy, the City of Rochester will reject this lie and reaffirm that all people should be treated equally regardless of who they are and who they love.”

The legislation presented to the City Council adds language under the consumer protection section of the municipal code to prohibit “any services, offered or provided to consumers for a fee, that are intended to change a person’s sexual orientation or to change a person’s gender identity to conform to the sex of such individual that was recorded at birth.”

The practice known as conversion or reparative therapy has been rejected by most health practitioners as ineffective and harmful, leading to negative outcomes such as depression, anxiety, drug abuse and even suicide.

“For therapists to charge individuals — or their parents — for such a ‘therapy’ is predatory, and really unconscionable,” Mayor Warren said. “It is basically a scam, and it instills pain and shame at a time when young people need love and support.”

The proposed legislation dovetails with efforts at the state level to restrict conversion therapy, including regulations prohibiting Medicaid payments and barring state-regulated mental health facilities from using conversion therapy on minors. New York City adopted similar legislation last year. State legislation is also pending to further protect minors statewide from the practice.

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