DENVER (CBS4) – Denver could become the first jurisdiction in Colorado to prohibit conversion therapy for minors. Mayor Michael Hancock, the Office of Human Rights and Community Partnerships and Council members Robin Kniech and Jolon Clark are proposing banning practice.
Conversion therapy is designed to change an LGBTQ+ person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
“These terrible practices that target our youth, simply for being who they are, are dangerous and immoral. We’re going to make sure that they never happen within our city,” Mayor Hancock said in a statement released Monday.
“When my brother came out to our family all those years ago, we knew that our love and support was what he needed,” Hancock’s statement continued. “All our LGBTQ+ youth here in Denver deserve the same, and they should be proud of who they are. We celebrate who they are, and they should feel welcome and that our city is open to them. Their safety, well-being and happiness are our highest priority with this proposal.”
Supporters say the ban will protect Denver’s youth from “dangerous and discredited practices.”
The statement released by the mayor’s office states: “Conversion therapy is based on the false claim that being LGBTQ+ is a mental illness that needs to be cured – a view that has been rejected as scientifically invalid by the American Psychiatric Association and every major medical and mental health group for decades. These practices are known to be extremely dangerous and can lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse and even suicide.”
Supporters say therapists who practice conversion therapy are taking advantage of parents and harming vulnerable youth. The proposal would ban state-licensed therapists, operating in the City and County of Denver, from practicing conversion therapy.
“The discredited practice of trying to ‘convert’ someone’s gender or sexual orientation place youth at serious risk of suicide,” Councilwoman Kniech said. “I’m proud Denver is joining dozens of other cities and states to prohibit this dangerous practice in our community.”
“We should be supporting and uplifting every young person in our city, not turning a blind eye to discredited therapies that are exploiting our youth at a vulnerable point in their lives,” Councilman Clark said.
At least nine states have banned conversion therapy.
State lawmakers have tried to ban conversion therapy in Colorado but proposals have failed to pass four times.
Denver’s proposal will be presented to City Council’s Safety, Housing, Education & Homelessness Committee on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 10 a.m.