Today, I was proud to stand on behalf of Stonewall Democrats of WNY, alongside Western New Yorkers Against Conversion Therapy, the WNY Anti-Violence Project and other concerned citizens and community organizations, as NYS Sen. Tim Kennedy and Assemblymember Sean Ryan announced the introduction of Senate Bill 04917A and Assembly Bill 06983A, which seeks to ban reparative therapy in New York State.
A very special thank you to Stonewall Democrat and WNYACT coordiantor Paul Morgan for organizing the event. Thank you to every one of us and our allies who came and stood with us this morning. And a most sincere thank you to Edmund Cardoni and Hallwals, for the use of the Hallwalls Cinema.
I was proud to stand for SDWNY to support this much needed legislation, and so proud to watch the inspiring words spoken by Sen. Kennedy, Assemblymember Ryan, and Ellen Brauza of the WNY Anti-Violence Project. It is inspiring to see such leadership on the issue of protecting our most vulnerable children from the horrors of reparative therapy on behalf of our WNY pro-equality legislative delegation and community.
Watch the press conference in full here:
And you may read my remarks on behalf of SDWNY here:
SDWNY Remarks, WNYACT Press Conference, 1-24-13
"Good morning. Thank you, to Paul Morgan, and the WNYACT committee for your work launching this much needed organization. Thank you to Ed Cardoni and Hallwalls for this space, and a most sincere thank you to Senator Tim Kennedy and Assemblymember Sean Ryan for your staunch advocacy for the human dignity of all people, and introducing this much needed legislation.
I stand here this morning on behalf of the Stonewall Democrats of Western New York, to stand with our elected officials, concerned citizens and professional mental health and advocacy community to support banning reparative therapy for New York’s children. As has been detailed this morning, reparative therapy is a damaging process that does nothing on the victim but inflict undue psychological pain. We are all born the way we are. None of us chose our sexual orientation or gender identity any more than we chose our skin or eye color. All professional medical and mental health organizations agree on this. For so called professionals to claim they have a child’s well-being in mind, and tell a child otherwise—that she or he is wrong and can be changed— that is wrong. It is wrong, and it should be made illegal. Reparative therapy is not, as many fair-minded people would think, a relic of an ignorant past. Today, several agencies offering reparative therapy are operating in our state. That is unacceptable.
For each one of us who stands here today with Senator Kennedy and Assemblymember Ryan, there are hundreds, countless others who have been victimized by reparative therapy. Voices and lives, some forever silenced, who cannot be here to speak out. People who have been misled by this false science, and have suffered unspeakable damage. I speak for them. I commend our state legislators for their action and look forward to this bill’s prompt passage. Our state legislature has proven they can work together in a non-partisan way to legislate equality and due protections, and I call upon our legislature to do so again. I also call on our community to stand with us and show the true widespread support there is for this legislation. I thank you all for your work and attention to this pressing issue, and look forward to the day when New York’s children are protected from reparative therapy. On behalf of Stonewall Democrats of Western New York, I thank you."
Looking for more information on reparative therapy?
Stonewall Democrats of WNY
Reparative Therapy: The Facts
What is reparative or anti-gay conversion therapy?
Reparative therapy, also known as conversion therapy, is an extremely dangerous, and long discredited means of therapy though which a practitioner attempts to change a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity. While, thankfully, the more vocal of such practices have been professionally discredited for years, there remains even today a segment of our population who practice this therapy, and subject adults, teenagers and children to this harmful process of psychological confusion and damage.
What, if any, legislative means can take action on this?
In January of 2014, our state legislature introduced legislation to protect LGBT youth from reparative therapy. Introduced in both houses of the New York State legislature-- as A06983A in the Assembly by Assemblymember Deborah Glick and the Senate as S04917A by Sen. Michael Gianaris-- our legislation would outlaw such professional practices for minors. Here in WNY, NYS Sen. Tim Kennedy and Assemblymember Sean Ryan are championing and co-sponsoring this legislation.
What professional health care organizations recognize such so-called therapy as discredited?
The American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Counseling Association Governing Council, the American Psychoanalytic Organization, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of Social Workers and the Pan American Health Organization.
How can I take action to help protect LGBT children in New York from reparative therapy?
In the upcoming legislative session, there will be many opportunities to help make this legislation a reality. SDWNY is proud to support this legislation, and will be working a campaign aimed at education and advocacy. We will be participating in a letter writing project to show our state representatives that WNY supports this bill, and protecting our children. We will be working with the newly formed Western New Yorkers Against Conversion Therapy (WNYACT) to raise awareness in our counties and state as to the need for this legislation. You will be able to sign one of our letters to your state representatives and travel with us in district and to Albany to lobby for the bill's passage. For more information, please visit our website at SDWNY.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org