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Indiana bill would prohibit use of conversion therapy on LGBTQ youth

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — State Sen. J.D. Ford wrote a bill that could end conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth in Indiana.

Data shows thousands of youth will undergo conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional before they turn 18. Bill supporters said suicide risks skyrocket for young people who undergo such therapies.

Conversion therapy — a licensed professional trying to change a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity — is illegal in 20 states. Ford aims to add Indiana to that list with Senate Bill 32.

Statistics from the LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD show young people who undergo conversion therapy are more likely to attempt suicide.

“This is going to save countless lives for LGBTQ Hoosiers, but more importantly, LGBTQ youth across our great state,” said Ford.

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The bill would prohibit mental health providers from performing conversion therapy. Data shows about 350,000 LGBTQ adults said they experienced conversion therapy during their adolescence.

“We have an obligation and a duty to ensure that we are banning this practice,” Ford said.

Ford, other legislators medical professionals and other advocacy organizations will use a town hall to further point out the concerns associated with conversion therapy.

Shelly’s Voice is one of those advocacy organizations. Dominic Conover is the president.

“So many providers, they frequently change the terminology in order to avoid deflection. And so today we want to make sure that we establish that definition of conversion therapy,” said Conover.

Conover said the practice is degrading since it questions a major part of a person’s identity. In addition to legislation, Conover urges youth struggling to belong to seek out like minding people and organizations.

“When you see that there are people who understand you for who you are that is going to change the trajectory,” Conover said.

A companion bill is being introduced in the House by State Rep. Sue Errington.

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