February 28, 2017
One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Coloradans and their families, released the following statement from Executive Director Daniel Ramos on the passage House Bill 1156 out of the Public Health Care and Human Services Committee of the Colorado House Representatives by an 7-6 vote.
“This bill would ban dangerous and discredited practices aimed at changing a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This legislation will protect Colorado youth by prohibiting state-licensed and registered mental health care providers from practicing conversion therapy on youth under the age of 18. House Bill 1156 will help young people receive mental health care that is ethical and affirming.
“Every mainstream mental and medical professional association in the country has discounted so-called ‘conversion therapy.’ In Colorado, many major mental health organizations — including the Colorado Psychological Association, the Colorado Psychiatric Society, the Colorado Counseling Association, Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council, Mental Health Colorado, and the National Association of Social Workers – Colorado Chapter — support House Bill 1156.
“These harmful practices use rejection, shame, and psychological abuse to force young people to try to change who they are. Unfortunately, many young people are coerced and subjected to these harmful practices, which put them at a higher risk for depression, substance abuse, and suicide.
“No young person should ever be shamed by a mental health professional into thinking that who they are is wrong. We can not allow one more young person to be targeted and hurt by these dangerous and discredited practices and are hopeful House Bill 1156 will continue to progress through the legislature with bi-partisan support, as it has the last two years.”