Ahead of the upcoming legislative session, State Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin) of Texas House District 50, has filed House Bill 517, which would allow the state to take action against mental health care providers who practice “conversion therapy” on LGBTQ youth.
Conversion therapy is the practice of aiming to eliminate or suppress the sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression of LGBTQ individuals. HB 517 would allow state agencies with regulatory authority over certain mental health providers to take disciplinary action against providers who practice conversion therapy on Texans under 18 years of age.
The practice is not supported by national public health organizations such as the American Psychological Association, citing minors’ increased risk of depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior as a result of conversion therapy.
“Republicans and Democrats have come together to protect LGBTQ youth around the country. Five states have passed legislation since the Texas Legislature last met,” said Rep. Israel. “HB 517 is an important step forward for the health and safety of our children, because LGBTQ Texans don’t need to be ‘fixed.’ We need love and support.”
As of 2018, 14 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws preventing the act of conversion therapy on minors.