DENVER (CBS4) – After years of attempts, a bill that bans conversion therapy for minors has become law in Colorado. Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill into law in a ceremony outside Colorado’s Capitol on Friday.
Conversion therapy claims to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Supporters of the ban say it only takes advantage of parents and harms vulnerable children.
The governor also signed “Jude’s Law.” It lets transgender and non-binary Coloradans change their gender on documents without surgery, a doctor’s note or a court order.
The LGBTQ community considers the new laws, both which passed through the Colorado legislature with bipartisan support, a big victory.
“It’s a real relief to know that I live in a state that cares about me and about my struggle,” said Mist Soria, bill supporter and transgender woman.
She’s also a Colorado native from Fort Collins.
“It’s been a long process. It’s been a lot of suiting up and showing up, which is what my mom would always teach me to do,” said Jude, who Jude’s Law was named after. (Her last name is being withheld for privacy reasons.)
Jude has been fighting for four years to make this law official.
“I know people that have been in (conversion therapy), and it’s really a painful process. It’s a way that hate is taught internally,” added Soria.
“There are so many areas and moments in my life where I’ve been denied the ability to just be myself, and I’ve been fought against. I constantly had to validate my own identity,” Soria explained.
“No matter who you are, you are loved. And there are always going to be people there for you, whether you know them or not,” said Jude.
Colorado joins California and Oregon as the third state to now have non-binary gender identifications for driver’s licenses and birth certificates.