(Photo Credits: Screengrab from @louisvillemayor’s Official Twitter Account)

“Because our LGBTQ kids, they don’t need to be converted or repaired. They need to be loved, supported, and accepted for who they are and this ordinance is one more way for our city to demonstrate our city’s long-standing commitment to our LGBTQ community.” – Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville, Kentucky

With a 24-1 vote, Mayor Fischer signed into a law a ban on conversion therapy in the presence of the members from the Fairness Campaign, Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky, and the Louisville Metro Council earlier this month. 

Councilman Bill Hollander (Democratic Party) reportedly introduced the ordinance to the Louisville Metro Council.     

Mayor Fischer, who is from the Democratic Party, said during the signing, “Once any compassionate person understands what conversion therapy is, then it’s clear that it has no place in our city, our state or our country.” 

He added, “I’m very thankful to our partners on the Metro Council who passed this ordinance which will prohibit mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts with minors. The intent of this ordinance is to protect minors, from the serious physical and psychological harms and risk caused by so-called conversion therapy or reparative therapy.”

Meanwhile, Councilman Bill Hollander said in his speech, “Today, we joined 20 states, more than 70 cities and counties, and five nations in taking action to ban thoroughly discredited practices that hurt children who are subjected to them. The harms include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicidal thoughts and attempts.” 

Councilman Hollander added: 

That’s why every mainstream medical and mental health organization in the country supports a nationwide ban. It’s why we heard from so many Louisvillians in support of this ordinance often with first-hand accounts. There is still work to do, a bipartisan group is working to pass similar statewide legislation. I wish Representative Lisa Wilner (Democratic Party) from here in Louisville and Senator Alice Forgy Kerr (Republican Party) from Lexington success in that effort next year and we will also be pushing for a statewide ban. I’m confident that we will look back and be amazed that we were actually still talking about conversion therapy in 2020 and I’m glad to say that Louisville helped end it by the signing of this ordinance today.

But what does the signing of the bill mean? 

This means that with the passage of this law, it is now illegal for licensed professionals to change the sexual orientation and gender identity of minors in Louisville. Moreover, the law also prohibits the allocation of public funds to people and organizations that provide conversion therapy to anyone under the age of 18. 

According to GLAAD, conversion therapy is “any attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.” 

Conversion therapy has been denounced by many organizations such as the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, World Health Organization, and American Medical Association to name a few.

These organizations found that conversation therapy pose great risks including “depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.” American Psychiatric Association explained that these happen because “therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.” 

Further, GLAAD said that because conversion therapy has increasingly come under scrutiny, providers have become a little bit more creative and has learned to change its names. 

Movement Advancement Project | Conversion

Today, conversion therapy is also referred to as: “sexual reorientation efforts, ex-gay ministry, promoting healthy sexuality, sexuality counseling, addressing sexual addictions and disorders, Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE), Eliminating, reducing or decreasing frequency or intensity of unwanted Same-Sex Attraction (SSA), healing sexual brokenness, Sexual Attraction Fluidity Exploration in Therapy (SAFE-T), and encouraging relational and sexual wholeness.” For more information, read about conversion therapy here.

Louisville is the second city in Kentucky after the city of Covington to have banned the practice of conversion therapy. It was also one of the first cities in the south to pass fairness ordinance—a campaign that prevents discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity way back in 1999.  

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