POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Equality Utah supports bill clarifying rules for therapists when it comes to conversion therapy for minors

Feb 6, 2023, 7:30 PM

The Utah House has advanced the bill that bans transgender-related surgeries on minors and pauses t...

Utah legislators stand on the steps of the Capitol as they join hundreds gathered in support of transgender youth in a rally at the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. (Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Equality Utah is supporting a bill adjusting rules for therapists when it comes to conversion therapy for minors. The LGBTQ+ group has agreed to a compromise on the bill.

The group says it is supportive of a bill substitute that continues to ban conversion therapy in Utah for anyone under the age of 18. H.B. 228 also clarifies that therapists are able to talk about gender identity.

The bill’s sponsor Rep. Mike Petersen (R-Logan) says he’s spoken to counselors who were confused with the ambiguity of the current law. This bill clarifies that therapists, for example, can talk with minors who have gender dysphoria. They can explain to a minor the impacts of identifying as their birth gender or not and how that would impact their physical and mental health.

“I am happy to sponsor this important legislation which provides clarity for professionals while continuing to protect Utah’s LGBTQ+ youth,” Petersen said in a statement.

Along with its support, Equality Utah had this to say in a statement Monday: 

“At the outset, Equality Utah would like to thank the sponsors and involved lawmakers, Rep. Petersen, Rep. Brammer, Senator Bramble, and others, for being open to thoughtful conversation on this challenging topic. We’ve had important dialogue and have shared our concerns openly, and for that we are grateful.”

The group continues:

“The [second] sub continues to prohibit the very dangerous practice of conversion therapy for minors, while providing greater clarification for Utah therapists, and accordingly, we support the advancement of HB 228 as amended.”

H.B. 228 has passed the House Committee and is on its way to a full house vote.

Devin Oldroyd contributed to this story.

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Equality Utah supports bill clarifying rules for therapists when it comes to conversion therapy for minors