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Press Release (One-Colorado.org)

This afternoon, the Colorado House Public Health Care & Human Services passed House Bill 19-1129 on a bipartisan 8-3 vote. If signed into law, the bill would ban the dangerous, discredited practice of conversion therapy on minors by a licensed professional. One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Coloradans and their families, released the following statement from Executive Director Daniel Ramos in reaction to the bill’s passage from the House:

“No young person should ever be shamed by a state-licensed mental health professional into thinking who they are is wrong. Unfortunately, as we heard when this bill was in committee, too many young LGBTQ Coloradans have sought help from licensed professionals so they can find their truth, only to be subjected to dangerous and discredited practices that use rejection, shame, and psychological abuse to force them to change who they are. More and more states are standing with LGBTQ youth by banning the harmful, discredited practice of conversion therapy on minors, and it is time for Colorado to do the same,” said Ramos.

“I applaud the committee for their bipartisan support of this measure. It is my sincere hope that, with this being the fifth time this measure has been introduced in the Colorado legislature, this will be the year Colorado says ‘no more’, and bans a practice on minors that is based on the false claim that being LGBTQ is a mental illness that needs to be cured. We are born perfect, and we deserve our state’s support,” Ramos continued.

Sponsored by Representatives Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, and Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, and Senator Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, this bill would ban a state-licensed mental health care provider from engaging in the discredited, harmful practice conversion therapy on a patient under eighteen years of age in order to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. A physician or mental health care provider who violates this provision engages in unprofessional conduct under the applicable professional licensing board.

Testimony in support of HB19-1129 was provided by medical and mental health professionals, faith leaders, department agencies, survivors of conversion therapy, and legal professionals, including Colorado’s former Republican Attorney General, Cynthia Coffman.

A study last year by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that tens of thousands of teens between ages of 13-17 will be subjected to conversion therapy in the coming years.