On April 25, Democratic lawmakers reintroduced a bill that would end the practice of conversion therapy across the United States. Filed by Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Ca.) and Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), this bill entitled The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act “prohibits sexual orientation or gender identity conversion therapy from being provided in exchange for monetary compensation.” Under it, the Federal Trade Commission could classify conversion therapy as fraudulent and states would be given the ability to enforce against violations.
The bill clearly states acts where therapy claims to (1) change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, (2) eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender, or (3) be harmless or without risk will fall under the category of “reparative” therapy. The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act has support from 70 members of congress and although there are currently 23 cosponsors for the bill, not a single one of them is a Republican.
In conversation with The Washington Post, Rep. Lieu stated, “The bill is very simple, it says it is fraud if you treat someone for a condition that doesn’t exist and there’s no medical condition known as being gay. LGBTQ people were born perfect; there is nothing to treat them for.”
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 26, 2017
Starting as early as the late 1950s, conversion therapy consists of harmful and unethical practices where individuals would undergo electric shock, induced nausea, self-hatred and extreme repression as a “cure” for their gender identity or sexual orientation. Senator Booker also commented on these treatments saying it is not therapy at all: “It’s a tortuous, fraudulent practice that has been repeatedly condemned by medical professionals and has no place in our country.”
Seven states and several municipalities have enacted similar bans protecting the LGBT+ community from the dangers of conversion therapy, but this bill has the potential to end it in all states. The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act has been applauded by multiple LGBT+ organizations and civil rights groups for its renewed effort. Chad Griffin, President of HRC, said on Wednesday, “Now more than ever, we must send a clear message to the LGBTQ community- and especially LGBTQ young people – that who you are is not something that needs to be fixed.”