Whitmer signs executive directive banning use of funds for practicing conversion therapy on minors

Posted at 1:53 PM, Jun 14, 2021

(WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive to prohibit the use of state funds for the practice of conversion therapy on minors.

The directive also requires departments and agencies to explore what further actions can be taken to protect minors from the harmful practice.

"Since day one, I have made it clear that hate has no home in Michigan,” Whitmer said. “My administration is committed to addressing the systemic barriers faced by young LGBTQ+ Michiganders so that our state is a place where they are able to reach their full potential. The actions we take today will serve as a starting point in protecting our LGBTQ+ youth from the damaging practice of conversion therapy and in ensuring that Michigan is a reflection of true inclusion.”

Conversion therapy, also known as “reparative therapy” refers to any intervention that attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The state says it rests on the false premise that an LGBTQ+ individual’s identity is pathological and must be “repaired” or “fixed.” The nation’s leading medical and mental health organizations oppose the practice of conversion therapy on minors.

The state says not only is conversion therapy ineffectual, it can lead to significant long-term harm, including anxiety, depression, internalized homophobia, self-blame, and higher risk of suicide. LGBTQ+ youth, who may be unable to refuse or resist conversion therapy sought by their parents or guardians, are particularly vulnerable to these harms.

“No child should be subjected to the abusive practice of so-called conversion therapy, which sends the harmful message that there is something wrong with who you are," said Equality Michigan Executive Director, Erin Knott, in a press release. "Luckily, LGBTQ+ kids in Michigan have the support of Governor Whitmer who is doing everything in her power to protect them from this dangerous, fraudulent practice that should never be subsidized with taxpayer dollars. Equality Michigan calls upon the legislature to immediately pass legislation prohibiting mental health providers from subjecting anymore LGBTQ+ kids in Michigan to this discredited practice.”