The mayor of Washington D.C. has signed a law that bans efforts to “cure” gay and lesbian youth through controversial “conversion therapy”.
The Conversion Therapy for Minors Prohibition Amendment Act was passed unanimously by the city council earlier this month and approved by Mayor Vincent Gray at a signing ceremony on Sunday.
“I am proud to sign a bill today that protects youth and their families from the discredited practice of conversion therapy,” said Gray.
The practice is also banned in the US states of New Jersey and California, which have passed similar laws that have been upheld by the courts.
“This District of Columbia is leading the way to eradicate these dangerous practices which harm LGBT youth and deceive families,” commented HRC (Human Rights Campaign) Senior Legislative Counsel Alison Gill.
“We hope that other states will pass measures to protect LGBT youth from this so-called ‘therapy,'” she added.
Major medical and mental health organisations around the world – including The South African Society of Psychiatrists – have denounced efforts to change sexual orientation or gender expression as ineffective and potentially harmful.
On Friday, a Beijing court ruled that conversion therapy is “false” and ordered a gay cure clinic that used electroshock therapy to apologise and pay a cash amount to one of its traumatised clients.