Testimony on HB 6695: AAC The Protection Of Youth From Conversion Therapy Public Health Committee

On behalf of the National Association of Social Workers, CT Chapter, we support HB 6695-An Act Concerning the Protection of Youth from Conversion Therapy. As an organization representing over 2600 social work members – who serve hundreds of thousands of Connecticut constituents-we are in strong alliance with the nation’s top leading medical, mental health and human services professional organizations who have condemned conversion therapy practice. Such organizations include but are not limited to: The American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, as well as the National Association of Social Workers.

The Social Work Code of Ethics includes that social workers should not practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability. Furthermore, the Social Work Code of Ethics states that social workers should not participate in, condone, or be associated with dishonesty, fraud, or deception. Five states have recently outlawed conversion therapy based upon evidence that this is a fraudulent practice and traumatizes victims of this illegitimate practice for the rest of their entire lives. These extremely dangerous practices are based upon the idea that being LGBT is a mental illness that needs treatment without any solid scientific data to support this claim. Therefore these practices of conversion therapy are discriminatory actions, possible fraudulent conduct, and potentially a violation of the National Association of Social Worker’s Code of Ethics.

Minors must be protected from having to experience this false therapy that often has traumatizing results. Conversion therapy practices are known to be extremely traumatic and can lead to depression, anxiety, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, and even suicide.  Individuals who are traumatized as children may likely continue well on into their adult life with mental illness and other various related conditions that can not only impact them as a person, but also their families, their communities, and put a strain on existing resources if they require additional support later on in life.

Simply stated, conversion therapy is bunk therapy that should be prohibited for minors. HB 6695 will prevent licensed practitioners from harming minors through discriminatory actions disguised as therapy. NASW/CT urges the Public Health Committee to favorably report out, in a bipartisan vote HB 6695.

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