Cleveland Joins Cincinnati in Banning LGBTQ+ 'Conversion Therapy' on Minors

Cincinnati was the first city in the country to ban the practice in 2015.

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click to enlarge LGBTQ+ allies demonstrate outside Crossroads Church in Oakley on July 25, 2021. - Photo: Mary LeBus
Photo: Mary LeBus
LGBTQ+ allies demonstrate outside Crossroads Church in Oakley on July 25, 2021.

The City of Cleveland joined Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland Heights this week when its city council passed an ordinance outlawing so-called LGBTQ+ conversion therapy on minors within the city limits.

Co-sponsored by a number of the city's legislators — Brian Mooney, Kerry McCormack, Deborah Gray, Blaine Griffin. Stephanie Howse, Kevin Conwell, Rebecca Maurer, Jasmin Santana and Jenny Spencer — the bill prohibits mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression change efforts with a minor.

The Oct. 10 legislation notes that expert bodies, such as the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have deemed these so-called therapies harmful to mental health. And it stipulates that "the relevant licensing board, commission, or entity tasked with review of professional conduct" be notified when someone is found guilty of a violation.

Cincinnati was the first city in the country to ban conversion "therapy" for minors, with Cincinnati City Council voting 7-2 in favor of the legislation on Dec. 9, 2015. Former council member Chris Seelbach, who is gay, had introduced the measure.
The Human Rights Campaign immediately applauded Cleveland's unanimous Oct. 10 vote.

“Tonight, the City of Cleveland made it clear that LGBTQ+ young people should be seen, heard, and protected, especially from the harmful, archaic and extensively debunked practice of conversion therapy," a statement from Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow read. "HRC thanks Councilmember Kevin Conwell and Council President Blaine Griffin for advancing this ordinance through their respective committees, along with our partner organizations — Equality Ohio, The Trevor Project, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights — for helping to get this lifesaving ban to the finish line. We look forward to Mayor Bibb signing this into law."

Bibb's public health director David Margolius wrote on social media that his department would be "proud to enforce" the prohibition.

A version of this story originally was published by CityBeat sister newspaper Cleveland Scene.


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