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Michigan Takes Major Step in Protecting LGBTQ Youth

****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE****

Michigan just took a major step in protecting LGBTQ youth by being one of the first states to introduce a bill this year to ban the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.

Conversion therapists claim to reduce and eliminate the homosexual or bisexual orientation of youth, or force a child to reject their gender identity. Every major mental health professional organization has refuted the practice of conversion therapy as ineffective and potentially harmful yet new research from the Williams Institute estimates that 20,000 youth are still at risk of being forced into conversion therapy by a licensed mental health professional. Michigan may soon join the nine states which have passed similar legislation and the more than 30 states which have considered protections against conversion therapy.

As the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project applauds the actions of Representative Adam Zemke of the 55th House District of Michigan House of Representatives for submitting House Bill 5550. The Trevor Project frequently receives calls of LGBTQ youth in crisis stemming from their experience with conversion therapy and aims to advocate for the eventual end of state sanctioned conversion therapy across the country via the 50 Bills 50 States campaign.

Conversion therapy is snake oil. Representative Zemke and Representative Darrin Camilleri sent a letter to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today urging him to investigate FORGE Ministries and Metro City Church for a violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act. Specifically, whether FORGE Ministries and Metro City Church committed any unfair, unconscionable or deceptive practices. Reps. Jon Hoadley, Tim Sneller, and Jeremy Moss  also signed onto the letter.

“No young person should ever be subjected to the horrors of conversion therapy” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “We are grateful for the work of Representative Zemke in taking an important step to bring this barbaric practice to an end in the state of Michigan. Churches like Metro City Church must understand that we should not be forced to change something we never chose.”

“It is wildly inappropriate to offer conversion therapy classes in our communities, and doing so is misrepresentative of our values as a welcoming state,” Zemke said. “I am proud to sponsor a bill to prohibit these practices in Michigan. Not only has scientific evidence overwhelmingly found that these approaches fail to accomplish their purported task, but they are also profoundly destructive and painful for the participating individual and his or her loved ones. It’s time to put an end to this terrible practice once and for all.”

If you would like to help The Trevor Project protect LGBTQ youth from the horrors of conversion therapy you can text TREVOR to 40649.

If you’d like to learn more about conversion therapy and the nationwide efforts to end it you can go to our 50 Bills 50 States campaign website: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/50-bills-50-states/.

You can also help support this important work by donating here: www.TheTrevorProject.org/give.

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 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 866.488.7386. www.TheTrevorProject.org

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