NY ban on conversion therapy is a win for humanity
Fifty years ago, New York gave birth to the modern LGBTQ rights movement at Stonewall. Since then, the state has assumed the mantle of LGBTQ progress because so much positive change has been made for the state’s LGBTQ community. PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) was founded in New York in 1972; Harvey Milk High School, the first school for out gay and lesbian teens opened in New York City in 1985; and under the historic Marriage Equality Act, same-sex marriage was legalized in New York in 2011.
But progress has stalled and the mantle has faded. Pro-LGBTQ legislation hasn’t passed in New York in eight years. Given New York’s reputation for diversity and inclusion, it is jarring to think that in 2019 this state’s laws still permit licensed mental health professionals to try to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It is equally surprising that our nondiscrimination and hate crimes laws wouldn’t protect the transgender women of color who were at Stonewall. And yet, that is the reality today.
But with the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act (GENDA, introduced by state Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried) and anti-conversion therapy legislation (introduced by Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Hoylman) now passed in the Assembly and Senate, New York can now reclaim its mantle as a leader by fully protecting its LGBTQ community.