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5/2/2017 Sen. Nesselbush holds press conference regarding banning youth conversion therapy legislation
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) held a press conference today regarding legislation (2017-S 0267) that she sponsored that would prohibit licensed health care professionals from practicing conversion therapy on patients under the age of 18 years old.  Conversion therapy seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity and includes practices that intend to eliminate or reduce a person’s sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.

“The barbaric practice of torturing our children with conversion therapy needs to end before any more harm comes to our LGBTQ youth.  Study after study has shown that not only does this cruel practice simply not work, but, it also creates lasting harm in the form of a multitude of intense psychological and societal problems.  If this practice can be so damaging to adults, it has no place being forced upon our children and I will not rest until this insidious practice is banned in Rhode Island,” said Senator Nesselbush.

Senator Nesselbush was joined at the press conference by Rep. Edith H. Ajello (D-Dist. 1, Providence), who has introduced companion legislation (2017-H 5277) in the House of Representatives, Sen. Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence), Sen. Jeanine Calkin (D-Dist. 30, Warwick), Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), and several advocates and supporters of the legislation.

The American Psychological Association has stated that conversion therapy can lead to confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, disappointment, self-blame, decreased self-esteem and authenticity to others, increased self-hatred, hostility and blame toward parents, feelings of anger and betrayal, loss of friends and potential romantic partners, problems in sexual and emotional intimacy, sexual dysfunction, high-risk sexual behaviors, a feeling of being dehumanized and untrue to self, a loss of faith, and a sense of having wasted time and resources.

Currently, conversion therapy for minors is banned in New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Vermont, and New Mexico.  In 2017, Rhode Island is joined by several other states that have introduced banning the practice for minors with Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia all having bills introduced in their state legislatures.

The legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services and its cosponsors are Sen. Frank A. Ciccone III (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence), Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), Sen. William J. Conley, Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket), and Sen. Frank Lombardo III (D-Dist. 25, Johnston).  

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903