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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 29, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 48
Utah sees the light on "conversion" therapy
Section One
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Utah sees the light on "conversion" therapy

State plans new rule protecting LGBTQ youth from mental health quacks

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (Nov. 26) - Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has announced that the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing will propose a new administrative rule preventing licensed mental health professionals in the state from subjecting LGBTQ youth to the life-threatening practice of "conversion" therapy aimed at changing their sexual orientation.

The new rule will be identical to the language of H.B. 399, legislation that was introduced in the state legislature by Rep. Craig Hall in February and secured widespread public support before narrowly failing to pass.

"It is vital that our leaders support LGBTQ youth. We are grateful to Gov. Herbert for his leadership and for making sure all youth know they are born perfect. It is lifesaving," said Mathew Shurka, conversion therapy survivor and strategist for the Born Perfect campaign, spearheaded by the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

"Utah is once again leading the way in protecting LGBTQ youth and their families. We salute Gov. Herbert for taking action on this important issue and for this historic accomplishment," said Shannon Minter, NCLR legal director.

Following publication of the proposed new rule on Dec. 15, the rule will be subject to a 30-day public comment period and is expected to become official state law in January, making Utah the 19th state to protect youth from the dangerous practice.

For more than 25 years, NCLR has been leading the fight against conversion therapy. Since 2014, NCLR's Born Perfect campaign has brought survivors and legal experts together to support legislation protecting LGBTQ youth from the practice in 18 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 60 municipalities across the nation.

Momentum on this work continues to build, with a record-breaking number of states and localities taking action to protect youth in recent weeks, including the state of North Carolina and cities such as Minneapolis, Minn., and Kansas City, Mo.

The announcement of the new rule in Utah comes less than a week after the American Medical Association stated that it would support federal and state laws that protect youth from conversion therapy.

Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign created by NCLR in 2014 to end conversion therapy by passing laws across the country to protect LGBTQ children and young people, fighting in courtrooms to ensure their safety, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by these dangerous practices. More information on the campaign can be found at bornperfect.org.

Courtesy National Center for Lesbian Rights

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