Pass Indiana State Bill 32 & House Bill 1213

Pass Indiana State Bill 32 & House Bill 1213

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Joshua Headrick started this petition to Indiana State Senate and

State Senators, and Representatives from the great State of Indiana, now is the time to take definitive action against conversion therapy. For the good of the LGBTQ+ community, and the future young adults who are yet to discover their authentic selves, we urge you to pass Senate Bill 32, and House Bill 1312.

As Senate Bill 32 states, Conversion Therapy, also known as Reparative Therapy, is, “any practice or treatment that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, including any effort to change gender expression or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attraction or feelings toward individuals of the same gender.” This is usually done under the premise that non-heterosexual or heteronormative identities are sinful or incorrect in nature. Religious Freedom has too long protected this form of discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, and the dangerous and debunked process of attempting to convert someone’s natural sexual preferences or gender identity is inherently traumatizing and harmful.

Since 1975 – 44 years – the American Psychological Association has stated that homosexuality is not a mental illness, yet organizations and individuals continue to masquerade conversion therapy as a legitimate and psychologically backed option for LGBTQ+ youth – to “cure” them of being who they are. In fact, all major mental health organizations have deemed conversion therapy as unethical, ineffective and dangerous to the wellbeing of clients

Conversion therapy effects LGBTQ+ youth by the thousands every year. The Williams Institute estimates that over 700,000 members of the LGBTQ+ community have been subjected to this treatment. The risk of suicide in LGBTQ+ youth is five fold when subjected to conversion therapy. “Around 28 percent of the U.S. LGBTQ+ youth who had experienced conversion therapy had attempted suicide within the previous 12 months as of 2020.” The organizations that practice conversion therapy are able to operate with no regulations because they hide under the guise of religious freedom. For this reason, the staff they hire do not have to be licensed or have any background in social work or psychiatry.

These organizations have been known to practice shock therapy, sexual abuse and emotional abuse, with a purpose of making the youth associate any part of their LGBTQ+ identity with pain. The United Nations has called for a ban on conversion therapy stating “conversion therapy” practices have been consistently debunked by the scientific community and have been repeatedly linked to long-term harm to the physical and mental health of LGBTQ+ persons. Such practices constitute an egregious violation of rights to bodily autonomy, health, and free expression of one’s sexual orientation and gender identity. Ultimately, when conducted forcibly, they also represent a breach to the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment.”

Conversion therapy has been denounced by the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) who says: “WPA believes strongly in evidence-based treatment. There is no sound scientific evidence that innate sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality can create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish, and they can be potentially harmful”.

National and international professional boards in the medical and psychological community agree; Conversion therapy has been condemned by

-The American Psychological Association

- American Psychiatric Association

-American Medical Association

-American Academy of Family Physicians

-American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

-American Counseling Association

-American Academy of Pediatrics

-American Psychoanalytic Association

-Australian Psychological Society

-British Psychological Association

-Endocrine Society

-National Association of Social Workers

-Psychological Society of Ireland

-Psychological Society of South Africa

-World Professional Association for Transgender Health .

In addition, nineteen states and DC have already banned this harmful practice.

This bill has the power to not only protect the wellbeing of every LGBTQ+ youth in the state of Indiana, but also to save the lives of LGBTQ+ youth in Indiana. We urge you to pass Senate Bill 32, and House Bill 1312. 

This petition is part of an Act Up group project for "Social Work 560: Understanding and Working with LGBTQ+ Populations in Social Work" in Portland State University's Masters of Social Work program. The following students have contributed content:

-Katie Matten

-India Wynne

-Gretchen Schwab

-Jenny White

-Joshua Headrick

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