Socially distanced survivors and advocates listen to testimony during Kentucky informational hearing to ban conversion therapy (Credit: Mathew Shurka)

Kentucky Hearing on Conversion-Therapy Ban Reflects Strong Conservative Support

Socially distanced survivors and advocates listen to testimony during Kentucky informational hearing to ban conversion therapy (Credit: Mathew Shurka)
Socially distanced survivors and advocates listen to testimony during Kentucky informational hearing to ban conversion therapy (Credit: Mathew Shurka)

Legislation to ban conversion therapy for minors in Kentucky got its first hearing Aug. 25, as the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations heard strong support for a ban from Republicans as well as Democrats.

Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, a Republican, shared that she was inspired to protect youth from conversion therapy after watching the movie Boy Erased. She said well-intentioned people were misguided to support the practice and urged other legislators to learn more about the real harms caused by conversion therapy. “People who are subjected to this kind of torture are seven times more likely to commit suicide,” she said.

Read more from WTVQ-TV


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Kentucky State Rep. Kim Banta

Kentucky Republicans Co-Lead Effort to Protect LGBTQ Youth

Kentucky State Rep. Kim Banta
Kentucky State Rep. Kim Banta

In a demonstration of bipartisan unity, Rep. Kim Banta has become one of four Republicans currently cosponsoring efforts in Kentucky to ban conversion therapy.

This week, Banta penned an op-ed in The River City News in support of protecting Kentucky LGBTQ youth from abuse by mental health providers. Banta wrote:

As a Republican, the Mental Health Protection Act has my full support because it deliberately protects the rights laid out in our constitution: including freedom of religion. The bill proposed specifically prevents only state-licensed providers from engaging in conversion therapy with minors. This bill does not restrict religious leaders from counseling youth and families on this subject. It does not criminalize, or even prevent, Christian pastors and other religious leaders from discussing the morality and church teachings surrounding same-sex attraction or gender identity. Nor would it prevent parents or guardians from having similar conversations with their kids or grandkids. What this bill does is protect families from predatory therapists who would seek financial gain with false hope. It protects the safety and well-being of Kentucky’s children.

As a former principal, I know that adolescents struggle with so much in their lives. Shaming, blaming, or telling them they can change something that comes so naturally to them is proven to be emotionally and mentally harmful – especially when it comes in the guise of state-sanctioned medical advice. I have also read the personal accounts of kids who went through this legal form of child torture, these kids indicating they were physically and emotionally abused by people who take advantage of parents in a time of need. Just as it is our responsibility to help fellow Kentuckians get through the COVID-19 crisis, we have a responsibility to help struggling Kentucky kids through a much more personal and internal crisis of their own. 

Banta’s op-ed reflects values of family and liberty, of which we invite much more, throughout the Republican Party.

Banta joins Republican state Sens. Alice Forgy Kerr, Julie Raque Adams, and state Rep. Jason Nemes, alongside more than 30 Democrats, in opting to put the health and safety of LGBTQ youths and their parents before partisan politics.


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).