NY’s only openly gay senator seeks to ban ‘conversion therapy’

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan). Credit: bradhoylman.com.
New York State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan). Credit: bradhoylman.com.

Senator Brad Hoylman has introduced a bill that would legally prohibit mental health professionals from using “conversion therapies” meant to turn gay teens straight.

Hoylman, a Democrat from Manhattan, is co-sponsoring the bill with Queens Democrat Michael Gianaris. The same bill will be brought to the Assembly by Manhattan Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a Democrat and a lesbian.

Hoylman, who has a husband and a two-yeay-old daughter, condemned the practice as “particularly detrimental to young people,” and asserted that it reinforces stigma and “a culture of unacceptance, because it suggests that young gay people shouldn’t be gay.”

Hoylman said this is one of the first bills he started researching when he took office on January 1. He consulted with advocates and analysts at the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as some LGBT people who were subjected to attempts at conversion.

The legislation is personally compelling to the senator, as he referenced his two-year-old daughter.

“I think about her future and how she perceives her parents, her dads, and whether the medical establishment views her family as normal or not,” Hoylman said.

But while he has his eye on the ramifications for the society and his family, he said “the most important issue is to protect young people from quacks.”

A similar law was enacted in California last year but is currently on hold while it’s challenged in court.

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms Executive Director Reverend Jason McGuire told the NY Daily News he doubted that the law would pass in New York.

“I simply believe that those in the homosexual community should recognize that there is a significant population in that community that want to leave that lifestyle and pursue a heterosexual lifestyle,” McGuire said. “People should respect their choice to pursue that.”

 

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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