Seattle Joins Growing Number of Jurisdictions Protecting LGBTQ Kids from Conversion Therapy

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (August 1, 2016)—Today, Seattle City Council unanimously voted to protect LGBTQ youth in the city from conversion therapy, making Seattle the 10th jurisdiction—along with California, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Vermont, Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, and Miami Beach, Fla.—to protect youth from this dangerous practice.

Today’s 9-0 vote protects LGBTQ youth from mental health providers attempting to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through practices that are linked to substance abuse, extreme depression, and suicide. Providers who violate the ordinance will be fined $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for each additional offense.

“We are grateful for the leadership of Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez in protecting LGBTQ youth and their families from the deceptive and harmful practice of conversion therapy,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Youth Policy Counsel Carolyn Reyes. “ Today, Seattle has taken a bold step to save children’s lives, and its children have received a clear message that they were born perfect.”

NCLR has been at the forefront of efforts to protect youth and their families from conversion therapy, and works closely with legislators and state leaders across the country to introduce bills protecting youth from these dangerous practices. In 2014, it launched its #BornPerfect campaign to stop conversion therapy across the country by 2019 by passing laws, fighting in courtrooms, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

In February, NCLR, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a historic federal consumer fraud complaint against a major provider of “conversion therapy,” urging the Federal Trade Commission to take enforcement action against the organization and all practitioners engaging in similar fraudulent advertising and business practices.

Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.