A law to ban dangerous attempts to change LGBTQ youths’ sexual orientation or gender identity has moved a step forward in New Mexico.
On Thursday, the senate overwhelmingly approved bill 121, which would bar so-called “conversion therapy” by doctors and mental healthy professional targeting those under the age of 18.
The proposed legislation must still be passed by the state’s House of Representatives, which is expected to approve the bill.
“It’s a great day for LGBTQ New Mexicans, and especially LGBTQ young people,” said Equality New Mexico Executive Director Amber Royster.
“Unequivocally, conversion therapy is abuse. When we reduce the harm and trauma experienced by young people, we create the opportunity for healthier and more resilient communities,” she said.
“No child should ever be subjected to the incredibly dangerous practice of so-called conversion therapy,” added Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.
“For the sake of some of the state’s most vulnerable youth, the New Mexico House of Representatives should quickly pass this legislation and help end this barbaric form of child abuse.”
Conversion or reparative therapy, which falsely claims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, has been widely denounced by mainstream medical and mental health association in many other countries.
If the bill is made law, New Mexico will join other US states, such as California, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Illinois, and other regions, in restricting Conversion therapy.
In March last year, the World Psychiatric Association unequivocally stated that trying to “cure” LGBT people doesn’t work and is both dangerous and unethical.
In December, the Mediterranean island nation of Malta became the first nation to ban the “deceptive and harmful” practice.
Although the South African Society of Psychiatrists has rejected conversion therapy, it remains legal and is believed to be practised in South Africa.