The New York state legislature voted last week to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for minors experiencing same-sex attraction or gender-identity issues, citing concerns about their “physical and psychological well-being.”
Meanwhile, the state is promoting gender transition services through hormone therapy and reconstructive surgery on its official “Resources for LGBTQ Children and Youth” website.
NBC News reported that New York became the 15th state to ban conversion therapy. The measure passed handily in both the Senate by a vote of 57-4 and the Assembly, 134-3.
“Conversion therapy” — or “reparative therapy,” as it is known by its supporters — seeks to address the emotional or physical trauma (such as sexual abuse) or other factors that may have led individuals to experience same-sex attraction, according to a website for one of its most prominent proponents, the late Dr. Joseph Nicolosi.
The legislation reads, in part, “New York has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, and in protecting its minors against exposure to serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts.”
Democrat Sen. Brad Hoylman — who authored the legislation — called conversion therapy “among the worst frauds in history,” according to NBC News.
“The State of New York has a responsibility to stop licensed mental health professionals from causing irreparable damage to LGBT youth and their families,” he said when advocating for the legislation before its passage.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo applauded the bill clearing the legislature.
“So-called LGBTQ conversion therapy is a fraudulent practice that has done untold harm to too many young people,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement last week, according to WTSP. “New York has been at the forefront of protecting LGBTQ rights for decades and when Senate Republicans refused to ban conversion therapy, we took executive action to stop insurance companies from covering it.
“With today’s passage of this important bill, New York is sending a clear message that no one should be tortured for being who they are and we will stand for nothing short of absolute acceptance and full equality. I applaud the legislature for taking this decisive action to ban conversion therapy and protect LGBTQ youth,” he added.
In a Twitter post, Cuomo said the therapy “belongs in the dustbin of history.”
Conversion therapy belongs in the dustbin of history. Looking forward to signing this bill and ending this discredited, harmful practice in New York State.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 15, 2019
On its Office of Children and Family Services website, New York State provides a page dedicated to LGBTQ Children and Youth.
“For many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (or Queer) youth, there can be added challenges,” the site reads. “These youth, their peers, and their families can often benefit from supportive and educational programs that foster acceptance.”
The page contains a link to the NYtransguide, where physicians are recommended who can provide hormone replacement therapy and body reconstruction services for those who wish to “transition” to another gender.
So while New York State is clearly against the potential damage done to minors by receiving counseling to address their same-sex attraction, it apparently is not concerned about young people taking steps that may irreversibly change their bodies or have long-term health consequences.
Dr. Michelle Cretella, executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, charged in a 2017 piece for The Daily Signal that the ways doctors in her field are being instructed to treat children with sexual identity issues are leading to “large-scale child abuse.”
Cretella related that “professionals who dare to question the unscientific party line of supporting gender transition therapy will find themselves maligned and out of a job.”
“The transition-affirming protocol tells parents to treat their children as the gender they desire, and to place them on puberty blockers around age 11 or 12 if they are gender dysphoric,” Cretella wrote.
“If by age 16, the children still insist that they are trapped in the wrong body, they are placed on cross-sex hormones, and biological girls may obtain a double mastectomy.”
The health risks are clear, she explained.
“From studies of adults we know that the risks of cross-sex hormones include, but are not limited to, cardiac disease, high blood pressure, blood clots, strokes, diabetes, and cancers,” Cretella wrote.
Currently, genital reassignment is not recommended before age 18, but some professionals have argued the age should be lowered, according to the doctor.
“I have witnessed an upending of the medical consensus on the nature of gender identity,” Cretella recounted. “What doctors once treated as a mental illness, the medical community now largely affirms and even promotes as normal.”
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