Utah has made history now that Governor Spencer Cox signed into law a bill prohibiting therapists from subjecting youth to conversion therapy, a dangerous practice that seeks to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Governor Cox’s signature follows historic votes in the Utah House and Senate, which marked the first time that both chambers of a state legislature have voted unanimously in favor of a bill prohibiting conversion therapy for minors.
In 2020, the Utah Division of Professional Licensing adopted a policy barring conversion therapy for minors. The Utah Legislature has now taken action to codify that prohibition in state law, as 19 other states and the District of Columbia have also done.
“Utah has shown again that LGBTQ advocates and political conservatives can work together to protect families from proven harm,” said Mathew Shurka, a conversion therapy survivor and Co-Founder of Born Perfect. “Conversion therapy tore my own family apart when conversion therapists — as they so often do — taught me to blame my parents for my orientation. Utah’s law protecting LGBTQ youth recognizes that LGBTQ youth and their families are part of every community. We believe every child is born perfect.”
“Utah’s leadership as the most conservative state to address this issue shows how rapidly attitudes toward LGBTQ youth are changing,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter. “People from all walks of life recognize that public officials have a responsibility to protect vulnerable youth from this life-threatening harm. We are grateful to Equality Utah for their unwavering commitment to this issue, and to Utah lawmakers for their leadership.”
Conversion therapy has been rejected as unnecessary, ineffective, and harmful by every major medical and mental health organization in the country, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
About Born Perfect
Born Perfect is a survivor-led program created by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in 2014 to end conversion therapy by passing laws across the country that protect LGBTQ children and young people, fighting in courtrooms to ensure their safety, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by these dangerous practices.