Bill Banning Conversion Therapy in Colorado Passed in House Committee Wednesday

By: Maxine Fuselier ’19, Editor-in-Chief

A bill to ban the practice of conversion therapy on minors cleared the Public Health Care & Human Services House Committee on Wednesday.

On January 13th Colorado State legislature passed House Bill 19-1129 with a 8-3 vote, prohibiting mental health professionals from practicing Conversion Therapy on minors in the State of Colorado as well as making advertising of the therapy a deceptive trade practice under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.

Conversion therapy is the practice of “converting” a homosexual person to heterosexuality. Psychotherapists and faith based organizations like Exodus International, a non-profit organization that originally claimed they can “help people who wish to limit their homosexual desires,” that use conversion therapy claim that homosexuality is caused by environmental effects like trauma and having too many female role models.

Common modern methods used in this therapy, Aversion Therapy, and intense Pychoanalysis. In the early twentieth century “conversion” included chemical castration, ice-pick lobotomy, and sterilization. This practice is widely discredited as a pseudoscience and discouraged by many in the psychiatric field. The American Psychological Association is strongly opposed to the practice and says it has some “serious potential to harm young people.”

HB 19-1129, which had bipartisan sponsorship, was introduced by Democrat House Representatives Michaelson Jenet and Daneya Esgar of District 30 and 46 as well as State Senator Steve Fenberg of District 18, among others. The bill was introduced In House and assigned to Public Health Care & Human Services January 24.

Denver South High School Senior Johnny Hultzapple testifies before the Public Health & Human Services House Committee on Wednesday Feb. 13. Photo by: Maxine Fuselier ’19

36 witnesses came before the House committee Wednesday morning to testify in support of the bill, among them South High School senior Johnny Hultzapple. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a Catholic, Hultzapple is passionate about the ban on conversion therapy. “No child should ever be subjected to the torture of being told to change that which is
unchangeable,” he says in his testimony. “LGBTQ individuals are not able to change their orientation anymore than a heterosexual person can. It is deceitful and abhorrent to suggest otherwise.”

HB 19-1129 is on the House Floor today for more deliberation.

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