Applaud Efforts to End Gay Conversion Therapy

Rainbow_flag_breeze_by_Benson_Kua

Target: Representative Della Au Belatti

Goal: Praise efforts to ban gay conversion therapy in Hawaii.

Hawaii has become the latest state to begin efforts to ban gay conversion therapy. Often referred to as “gay exorcism,” conversion therapy asserts that homosexuality is a disorder that can be cured, an idea that extensive research has proven to be categorically untrue. Lawmakers from the state of Hawaii have introduced a bill that will protect LGBT teens from these dangerous and ineffective methods. This bill, if passed, represents a huge victory for the LGBT community, as it encourages the idea that homosexuality should be embraced and seen as a source of pride, not shame.

In Hawaii, the bill would, among other protections, ban advertisements that attempt to change an individual’s sexual orientation. It would also prevent teachers and counselors from doing the same. Representative Della Au Belatti, the politician responsible for introducing the bill, said, “these children, these teenagers are quite vulnerable… This is an issue because we don’t want them to be subject to further pressure and stigmatization during their formative years in school.” She added that the bill was consistent with the consensus medical opinion that conversion therapy is harmful to minors.

This proposal follows federal calls to end gay conversion therapy, which has long been considered ineffective. A recently released report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found little evidence to support the notion that homosexuality was a curable disorder and noted that the therapy “is inappropriate and reinforces harmful gender stereotypes.” Studies report that teens who experience rejection because of their orientation are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol and become depressed.

Hawaii is the fifth state to introduce legislation concerning conversion therapy, after California, Oregon, Illinois, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. This new development is a continuation of Hawaii’s progressive policies, as the state legalized gay marriage in 2013. Sign the petition below to thank Representative Belatti for her efforts to end gay conversion therapy.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Representative Belatti,

I am writing to thank you for your recent efforts to end gay conversion therapy in Hawaii.  As you are well aware, studies and research have consistently debunked and critiqued conversion therapy, yet the practice is still widespread in the U.S. The proposed bills would ensure protection for LGBT minors and represent a significant step towards a nationwide ban on conversion therapy.

This new development is a continuation of your state’s progressive policies, following the legalization of gay marriage in 2013. Homosexuality is not a disorder or disease, and Hawaii’s decision to embrace and provide support for homosexuals is uplifting and encouraging. Hawaii is now the fifth state to introduce legislation concerning conversion therapy, after California, Oregon, Illinois, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. Public opinion has clearly shifted, and, with continued dedication and perseverance, gay conversion therapy will someday be outlawed nationally. Thank you again for your efforts.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Benson Kua

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