Ban on damaging anti-gay practice moves out of the House chamber

LANSING, Mich., June 15, 2023 — The House of Representatives passed House Bill 4616, sponsored by state Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield), and House Bill 4617, sponsored by state Rep. Jason Hoskins (D-Southfield) yesterday. These bills would prohibit mental health professionals from performing conversion therapy on a minor. The bills would also ban any practice or treatments by licensed mental health professionals who seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity in conflict with the person’s true preference and identity.

“As a practicing psychologist, I have seen firsthand what happens when a person is not accepted as their true self, especially while still navigating their own self-discovery,” Brabec said. “The young people of our state should be free to express themselves without the fear or threat of damaging pseudo-psychology like conversion therapy. Our legislation ensures that Michigan’s licensed mental health professionals are banned from conducting this dangerous practice on minors, giving youth the space, time and acceptance to express themselves in the way that is true and authentically them.”

Conversion therapy is the idea that one can be “cured” of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Conversion therapy can increase the risk of suicide, depression and other irreparable harm to LGBTQ+ youth. This legislation prohibits the scientifically discredited practice of trying to “convert” the sexual orientation and gender identity of LGBTQ+ youth. If this legislation is passed in the Senate, Michigan will become the 22nd state to ban conversion therapy.

“When we ban conversion therapy, we do more than protect our children from discredited and dangerous medical practices. We also send a message across our entire state to young people letting them know it’s okay to be themselves,” said Hoskins, the first openly gay person of color elected to the Michigan Legislature. “I empathize deeply with the people who have sought this out for themselves or their children. You were scared and looking for answers and trusted a professional who should know better. My heart goes out to the people who have been wronged by this practice. I am so glad I could sponsor one of these bills, and I will continue to advocate for them until they are signed by the governor.”