Working With Delegate Bonnie Cullison and Senator Richard Madaleno, The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States Campaign Helped Draft Bill and Activated Grassroots Advocates
Annapolis, MD—Republican Maryland Governor Lawrence J. Hogan today signed the Youth Mental Health Protection Act, a bill that bans the barbaric practice of conversion therapy against LGBTQ young people. Conversion therapists falsely claim to be able to change people’s sexual orientation and gender identity, a practice opposed by prominent professional health associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Supported by The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth, and authored by Delegate Bonnie Cullison and Senator Richard Madaleno, the bill was first approved by Maryland House Delegates 95-27 and Senate 34-12.
The Trevor Project is invested in ending conversion therapy in every state because youth from highly rejecting families are more than 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than youth from accepting families. The organization supported the bill’s passage through its 50 Bills 50 States initiative by working closely with Delegate Cullison to draft and pass the legislation, and prepared Q&A for legislators with partners such as Free State Justice on the sensitive topic. In addition, The Trevor Project managed a network of local 50 Bills 50 States volunteers who encouraged the state to pass the bill – over 100 calls and emails were sent to legislators across Maryland by its campaign advocates.
“Banning conversion therapy in Maryland is a victory in our fight to protect LGBTQ young people everywhere from this dangerous and discredited practice,” said Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project. “I’m proud of Maryland legislators for voting to eliminate this practice statewide and look forward to working closely with other state legislators to do the same.”
“As a conversion therapy survivor, I identified with Delegate Meagan Simonaire’s moving testimony about her conversion therapy experience,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy & Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “Working with Delegate Cullison to pass this bill means a lot to The Trevor Project’s volunteer advocates, and 50 Bills 50 States will continue to work to protect LGBTQ youth across the country.”
The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States campaign works to introduce legislation to ban conversion therapy in every state in the country. So far bills have been introduced or successfully passed in 34 states. People can sign up to join 50 Bills 50 States 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, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people under the age of 25. The Trevor Project offers a suite of crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, 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 866.488.7386. www.TheTrevorProject.org
The Trevor Project