Pack seeks to end ‘conversion therapy” for LGBTQ+ youth in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS – Today, State Representative Renee Pack (D-Indianapolis) announced her intentions to end so-called conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ youth in Indiana. The freshman legislator was inspired to tackle the issue after her daughter came out.

Conversion therapy is an attempt to change someone's sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression under the false premise that being LGBTQ+ is a mental illness that can or should be cured. Pack joins advocates, health care professionals, social workers, educators and legislators to recognize the dangers and baselessness of this practice.

The Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) estimates that 698,000 LGBTQ+ adults (18-59) in the United States have been subjected to conversion therapy, 350,000 of whom received it as adolescents. Conversion therapy has been widely denounced by organizations like the American Psychiatric Association and the American Counseling Association.

“Conversion therapy operates on the prejudiced belief that someone's sexual orientation or gender identity can or should be changed,” Pack said. “Both medicine and common sense reveals conversion therapy for what it is – a sham. Indiana legally allowing this fraudulent and barbaric practice to continue sends a harmful message, especially to vulnerable Hoosier youth. I join many Americans in disbelief that 29 states have no laws or policies to protect our LGBTQ+ adolescents and communities.

“When these children come out of these horrendous programs they face a life filled with the belief that they are broken. They may spend the rest of their lives struggling with depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness and suicide because of these monstrous programs. Stopping the practice in Indiana could not only preserve quality of life, but very well save a life.

“It is time for the Indiana General Assembly to reckon with the gruesome realities faced by LGBTQ+ folks in our very own state, which is why I strongly support the legislature taking action during the 2021 session to ban conversion therapy. This is about preserving basic humanity and dignity.”

Democratic lawmakers like State Representative Sue Errington (D-Muncie) and State Senator J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) have offered conversion therapy legislation this session.

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