Gay conversion therapy might be banned

Brandon Alvarado-Perez, Reporter

THE IDEA of “gay conversion” started in the 19th century, and the practice of it continues into the present day. Gay converstion therapy, also referred to as “reparative therapy,” is when a licenced therapist  attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This therapy is already banned in some states but continues in others. Utah allows conversion therapy, but is now on its way to banning the practice of it.

According to a national survey done on LGBTQ youths’ mental health, “57% of transgender and non-binary youth who have undergone conversion therapy report a suicide attempt in the last year.” Almost 80% of the total survey respondents have attemped or considered suicide. These statistics should be taken seriously, especially with the unfortunate reality that more than half of  U.S. states continue to allow conversion therapy. 

Utah has allowed conversion therapy for a while, and there have been several attempts of blocking a bill trying to ban conversion therapy in the state of Utah. The LDS church originally interfered with Bill HB0399. “They [the LDS Church] reported to us [state legislature] that they had been contacted by therapists who felt like our bill would prohibit them from helping patients,” a University of Utah professor involved with HB0399 said in an interview with KUER. Now the LDS church is not opposing the bill after an exemption was added to it. The exemption allows clergy members acting on behalf of their religion and parent(s) to still attempt conversion methods, specifically by trying to convince and persuade LGBTQ youth to change their sexual orientaiton. 

If Utah were to pass HB0399, it will be the 19th state to ban conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is specifically done on minors, who are believed to have malleable minds and therefore be excellent subjects for “conversion.” Passing this bill means sparing Utah youth from often horrible practices that hurt their mental health. 

“It [conversion therapy] has effects on their [LBGTQ youths’] self esteem. It hurt me when I first saw the bill get rejected because I know it is very hard when you are a teen and you don’t feel accepted. It can lead to suicide. I’ve read stories, and I know people who were put through that therapy, and it negatively affected them for their entire life. It makes them fall into self-hatred, depression, and denial of themselves,” Ms. Neibar, a Granger High School teacher, said. “I’ve personally gone through rejection and depression for coming out as an adult, and it’s difficult. I can only imagine how difficult it is as a teen to have your parents and other people rejecting you,” Ms. Neibar said.

As teens progress through high school, acceptance becomes very important. When LGBTQ youth are forced into conversion therapy, they are left feeling disliked and not accepted, which negatively affects their mental health. It is therefore crucial that conversion therapy becomes banned with the passing of bill HB0399. Until then, Lancers should continue to support and be accepting of each other.