West Side Will Consider Restrictions on Conversion Therapy for Minors

Unlicensed counselors working with minors on conversion therapy, looking to get teens to reject homosexuality and portraying it as a mental illness or developmental disorder, could be fined up to $1,000 a day under a proposal going to the West Lafayette City Council next week.

With draft language calling the practice “harmful and discriminatory,” citing the American Psychological Association and other professional groups along the way, the proposed ordinance also would “strongly discourage” licensed counselors and therapists from doing conversion therapy, too.

Council members James Blanco and David Sanders are sponsoring the proposal, which would be up for the first of two votes on Monday, Dec. 6.

I have no evidence its happening in West Lafayette,” Sanders said Monday. “Sometimes, it’s best to stop things before they happen.”

Twenty states have restrictions of some sort on conversion therapy, according to the Movement Advancement Project, a nonprofit that tracks policy on equity issues, including those for the LGBTQ community. Indiana isn’t one of them. And according to the Movement Advancement Project, no cities or counties have similar local ordinances.

In February 2021, the Indianapolis City-County Council passed a resolution encouraging the state to ban conversion therapy. The measure there carried no legal weight. And bills in the Indiana General Assembly proposing that sort of ban went without hearings.

The proposal defines conversion therapy as:

“… any practices or treatments that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender. Conversion therapy shall not include counseling that provides assistance to a person undergoing gender transition, or counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person or facilitates a person’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual-orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, as long as such counseling does not seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Sanders said the city isn’t in a position to regulate anyone licensed and overseen by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency. And the city isn’t in a position to regulate counseling for those 18 and older.

As with up above: The West Lafayette City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday at city hall, 222 N. Chauncey Ave.

From Dave Bangert’s Based in Lafayette, IN, November 30, 2021