Members of the State Legislature’s Keiki Caucus have included legislation to ban “conversion therapy,” drafted by IMUAlliance and Girl Fest Hawaii, in their legislative package in an effort to prevent mental health professionals from nonconsensually counseling children to eliminate same-sex romantic attractions or change gender identities.Studies show that LGBT youth who report high levels of rejection during adolescence are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely engage in unprotected sex.
“Conversion therapy is an abusive practice that undermines a child’s identity development and expressive dignity,” said IMUAlliance legislative director Kris Coffield. “By including this measure in the Keiki Caucus package, lawmakers are sending a strong signal that intolerance and bullying of LGBT children have no place in our communities.”
“Children must not be forced into a certain sexuality against their will. This bill ensures that anyone who uses this type of harmful coercion will be held accountable. We must foster an environment that allows children the safe space and encouragement to develop their own identities without retaliation,” said Girl Fest Hawaii Non-Executive Director Kathryn Xian.
Submitted by IMUAlliance, a nonpartisan political advocacy organization with over 60 members, devoted to the protection of democratic ideals, empowerment of everyday citizens, eradication of social and economic inequality, and animation of critical engagement with current events; and GiRL FeST Hawaii is an all-volunteer program of the Safe Zone Foundation, a Hawaii-based 501c3 whose mission is to prevent violence against women and girls through education and art.