The Seattle City Council is scheduled to vote this upcoming Monday on a citywide ban of LGBTQ conversion therapy. If approved as an addition to the Seattle Municipal Code, it will be illegal for mental health practitioners to conduct this form of therapy on minors. Anyone who commits this civil violation will be fined up to $1000. The enactment of this legislation will also classify advertisements for conversion therapy as a civil misdemeanor.
Conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, is a practice that is conducted with the intention of “treating” and ultimately “curing” LGBTQ individuals’ sexual or gender orientation. Scientific studies have shown that so-called reparative therapy does not work and has a highly damaging impact on young people’s self-worth. The effects, both physical and mental, can include “loss of sexual feeling, depression, suicidality, and anxiety”.
According to City Council member Lorena Gonzalez, who sponsored the bill, “This new proposed law is a critical step in affirming LGBTQ youth and their identity.”
A subcommittee of the Seattle City council was united in its decision to outlaw conversion therapy practices, indicating promising chances of the full committee supporting the ban.
If passed, Seattle will join three other cities (Washington D.C., Cincinnati and Miami Beach) as well as the states of California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, and Vermont, in banning conversion therapy.