Governor Jared Polis (Facebook)
America’s first openly gay governor, Jared Polis, has approved two major pieces of LGBTQ-affirming legislation, including restricting conversion therapy, on the eve of international Pride Month.
On Friday, Polis signed a law that bans state-licensed mental health care providers from engaging in conversion therapy on a patient under 18 years of age. This makes Colorado the 18th state in the US to block the discredited and harmful practice for minors.
“Many of these so-called therapies or treatments are counterproductive, leading to lifelong issues with depression, even ultimately ending in suicide for some,” said Polis at a public signing ceremony in Denver.
“This will help so many people in Colorado to make sure that no one can be forced to attend a torturous conversion therapy pseudoscience practice,” he continued.
Polis also signed a second piece of legislation, known as Jude’s Law, which will make it easier for transgender and non-binary Coloradans to update the gender on their birth certificate.
Under the law, Coloradans will be able to update their gender to M, F, or X — without a surgery, doctor’s note, or court order. Colorado is the third state in the country (including California and Oregon) to have non-binary gender options for both driver’s licenses and birth certificates.
The bill was named Jude’s Law to honour the 13-year-old transgender Colorado student, Jude, who repeatedly testified in support of its passage over the last five years.
Daniel Ramos, Executive Director of LGBTQ advocacy group, One Colorado, said that the strong bipartisan support for both bills by lawmakers, “demonstrates that LGBTQ equality should be a nonpartisan issue.”
“Colorado will continue to make history as our country’s first openly gay Governor, Jared Polis, signs our pro-equality agenda into law to send a strong message that Colorado is a state that is open to all,” added Ramos.
The World Psychiatric Association and many other mental health bodies have asserted that trying to “cure” LGBTQ people doesn’t work and is both dangerous and unethical. In April 2018, the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) reaffirmed its condemnation of so-called conversion therapy.