» Help Protect Children in Maryland from Conversion Therapy

Written Testimony – Due by 4PM, February 28 for MD House and 4PM, March 6 for MD Senate:

Please prepare and submit written testimony in support of the bill. We need this from everyone. Once it is written, please email it to: jkent@freestate-justice.org (written testimony DUE by 4 PM on February 28 for House and written testimony DUE by 4 PM on March 6 for Senate – they can be the same content). Please also contact the email above if you would like to provide oral testimony.

More information here: http://freestate-justice.org/

Here is a template:

(PLEASE ADD YOUR LETTERHEAD OR YOUR ORGANIZATION’S TITLE/LOGO HERE)

BILL NO:​​​House Bill 902/Senate Bill 1028

TITLE:​Health Occupations – Conversion Therapy for Minors – Prohibition (Youth Mental Health Protection Act)

COMMITTEE:​Health and Government Operations/Education, Health and Environmental Affairs

HEARING DATE: ​​March 1, 2018/March 7, 2018

POSITION: ​​​SUPPORT

To the Chair, Vice-Chair and Esteemed Members of the Committee:

The Youth Mental Health Protection Act (HB 902/SB1028) would protect LGBT youthfrom so-called “conversion therapy,” a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. These practices are based on the false premise that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) is a mental illness that needs to be cured, a theory which has been rejected by every major medical and mental health organization.

Research has shown that conversion therapy poses dangerous health risks for LGBTQ youth. Use of these harmful practices can lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior.

The Youth Mental Health Protection Act is narrowly targeted at preventing state-licensed mental health care providers from engaging in conversion therapy with youth below the age of 18. The bill also expressly provides that the provision of conversion therapy to minors by state-licensed mental health care providers is unprofessional conduct subject to discipline by the relevant licensing authority. And it also protects parents from being taken advantage of by conversion therapy practitioners by making it clear that these practices are ineffective and harmful to their children.

California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia have enacted laws or regulations to protect minors from being subjected to conversion therapy by state-licensed mental health providers. Additionally, a growing number of municipalities have enacted similar protections, including cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, and Arizona. The Youth Mental Health Protection Act would add Maryland to the growing number of states that protect LGBTQ youth from the abusive and fraudulent practice of conversion therapy.

For these reasons, (INSERT ORG NAME HERE) supports HB 902/SB1028. We respectfully urge a favorable report.