The Broward Board of Commissioners has issued an ordinance banning licensed medical health professionals from using conversion therapy on minors, reports Tim Swift for WPLG Local 10 News. Broward County is the 17th Florida municipality to institute such a ban
Conversion therapy is a practice that some claim can make LGBTQ+ people straight or cisgender. Many LGBTQ+ activists and mental health professionals believe conversion therapy to be extremely damaging, especially to minors, who are often enrolled in such programs against their will by parents and guardians who do not accept their gender or sexuality.
Equality Florida, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, stated, “Minors are especially vulnerable to the dangers of conversion therapy, which has been tragically proven to lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, self-harm and suicide.”
Last year, an anonymous Twitter account shocked and horrified many with an account of what they claim they underwent in conversion therapy they were forced to attend. The poster, who went by the username Teenage Closeted, said over half the participants they met there committed suicide before completing the so-called therapy, and stated, “those [were] the darkest days of my life.”
Any mental health professional who defies the ban will have to pay a $250 fine.
Hopefully, this trend of municipal bans will lead to a state-wide ban soon.
You can read the WPLG Local 10 News article here. You can read Teen Vogue’s article on Teenage Closeted’s description of conversion therapy here (Content Warning: this article mentions suicide, violence, and extreme homophobia that some readers may find distressing).