Alert: Call Your Senator NOW to Prohbit Sexual Conversion Therapy!

NYAPRS Note: NYAPRS and a broad coalition of mental health providers and consumer advocacy organizations are calling for the passage of legislation (A.4958/S.121) to prohibit licensed mental health professionals from engaging in efforts to change a minor's sexual orientation, so-called conversion therapy, before the end of the Legislative Session. We need calls TODAY or TOMORROW MORNING to get the bill out of committee and passed by the Senate.

In view of the horrific tragedy in Orlando, we must be ever resolute to support the LGBTQI community!

Please call your Senator today and leave the following message:

"I'm a registered voter from (your locality) urging my Senator to support S.121 to prohibit therapies to change a minor's sexual orientation and to encourage Senator Flanagan to move the bill to the floor!

Nearly every major medical and professional association has discredited and repudiated conversion therapy, including among others the American Psychiatric Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recognizing the serious harm it can exact on minors, including increased risk of depression, self-loathing and suicide.

To find out who your Senator is, enter your address at:

https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator. Call the Senate switchboard at (518) 455-2800 and ask to be connected to your Senator's office.

Thank you!

Here is the text of our Memorandum in Support of A.4958/S.121:

[New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, Inc.] [nyaprs logo]

[Harvey Rosenthal Executive Director harveyr at nyaprs.org]

May 25, 2016 MEMORANDUM OF SUPPORT

Senate Bill 121/Assembly Bill 4958 (Holyman, Glick) AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to prohibiting mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with a patient under the age of eighteen years and expanding the definition of professional misconduct with respect to mental health professionals.

The New York Association for Psychiatric and Rehabilitative Services (NYAPRS), a state-wide coalition that represent thousands of New Yorkers with serious mental health conditions and more than 100 community health service agencies, offers our very strong support for Senate Bill 121 by Hoylman/Assembly Bill A.4958 by Assemblymember Glick.

Our mission is to improve services and social conditions for people with psychiatric disabilities or diagnoses, and those with trauma-related conditions by promoting their recovery, rehabilitation and rights so that all people can participate freely in the opportunities of society.

This mission ties us inextricably to the rights of those who need a voice in the process of recovery and often rely upon the public good to provide adequate and appropriate psychiatric care-and included therein is a responsibility to help ensure that mental health services are sound in their application.

So-called sexual orientation 'conversion therapy" has been roundly discredited by major medical and professional organizations. We wish to stand with the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychological Association and the National Association of Social Workers among others who have repudiated the practice. We support the assertion that efforts to convert the sexual orientation of a minor exposes them to harmful consequences such as depression, self-loathing and suicidality.

Further in this regard, we echo our Commissioner of Mental Health, Ann Marie T. Sullivan, M.D., who rightly states that "homosexuality, bisexuality, or living as transgender, are not mental disorders and they should not be treated as such... we aim to protect the inalienable right of self-determination for New York youth, reducing the trauma this so-called [conversion] treatment can produce in the LGBT community, and helping to end the stigma that has been associated with being LGBT for far too long."

We laud the recent, far-reaching steps taken by Governor Cuomo to help stamp out this disastrous practice. Specifically, his actions include banning insurance coverage for conversion therapy to minors, prohibiting any mental health facility licensed, funded or operated by the New York State Office of Mental Health from providing said therapy to minors and prohibiting Medicaid coverage for the practice.

These steps light the way to further protecting our youth from this egregious practice with the codification into law of such an important measure as enhancing the definition of professional misconduct. Therefore, it is imperative for us to stand in support of this bill which would further define professional misconduct of a mental health professional to include any practice that engages a minor in a sexual orientation change effort.

We wish to express our overwhelming support for Senate Bill 121/Assembly Bill 4958!