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Florida Becomes First State to Introduce Legislation Protecting LGBTQ Youth From Conversion Therapy in 2019 Legislative Session

Tallahassee, FL — Florida State Senator José Javier Rodríguez introduced Senate Bill 84 (SB 84) to protect LGBTQ youth from receiving conversion therapy, which falsely claims to be able to change people’s sexual orientation and gender identity, from licensed mental health practitioners, on November 21, 2018. With SB 84, Florida becomes the first state to introduce legislation to end conversion therapy in the 2019 legislative session.

“In most states it is still legal to force children into conversion therapy and that is wrong. When it comes to this debunked practice, there is no conversion and there is no therapy. So-called conversion therapy does not work because youth are who they are. They should be supported rather than shamed. More importantly, the practice we seek to ban is not therapy.” said Sen. José Javier Rodríguez (D Miami) “The long-term, even lethal, damage it does to youth is well documented. If you’re going to be a licensed practitioner in Florida, refraining from harming our youth with this debunked practice should be a basic requirement.”

A poll released in 2017 showed 71% of Floridians support banning conversion therapy for minors. Twenty local governments in Florida – both cities and counties – have adopted conversion therapy bans, which is more than in any other state in the country.

“The Trevor Project is deeply invested in ending conversion therapy in every state because we know youth who experience rejection from their family are more than 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than youth from accepting families,” said Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth. “Conversion therapy is a profoundly dangerous form of rejection with no basis in medicine or science. Unless lawmakers act to end the practice in every state, countless LGBTQ youth will be subjected to forms of conversion therapy in the next few years.”“Conversion therapy is a deceptive and utterly discredited practice that targets some of the most vulnerable in our state – LGBTQ young people,” said Jon Harris Maurer, Equality Florida’s Public Policy Director. “It’s time to put an end this dangerous abuse disguised as medical treatment.”

Equality Florida applauds José Javier Rodríguez for filing this critical legislation that would protect young people from this fraudulent practice.

“We are grateful to Senator José Javier Rodríguez for kicking off what we hope will be another successful year in the fight to end conversion therapy,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy & Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States campaign works to support legislation like SB 84 to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy in every state in the country and we look forward to working with leaders and advocates in Florida to turn this bill into law.”

The Trevor Project works with national partners such as the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as well as state leaders like Equality Florida to end conversion therapy. 34 states have historically introduced legislation to protect youth from conversion therapy; 14 states have signed them into law. Conversion therapy is widely opposed by prominent professional health associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

People can sign up to join The Trevor Project’s effort to end conversion therapy by texting “TREVOR” to 40649.

About The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the leading and only accredited national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under the age of 25. The Trevor Project offers a suite of crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as a peer-to-peer social network support for LGBTQ young people under the age of 25, TrevorSpace. Trevor also offers an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, a legislative advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and conducts research to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our Trevor Lifeline crisis counselors are available 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. www.TheTrevorProject.org