GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) today applauded the New Hampshire House of Representatives for passing a bill banning conversion therapy, specifically prohibiting persons licensed to provide professional counseling from engaging in the discredited and harmful practice of seeking to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“New Hampshire today has taken a significant step toward creating a better world for all LGBTQ youth,” said GLAD’s executive director, Janson Wu, who testified in favor of the bill last month. “LGBTQ youth devalue themselves and are devalued by others because we have not eradicated the idea that it’s not okay to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.  We hope that the Senate will follow suit, both to protect New Hampshire’s LGBTQ youth, and to send those young people a message that they are perfectly okay.”

National research shows that LGBTQ youth are 2 to 7 times more likely attempt suicide; in New Hampshire, suicide is the is the second leading cause of death for youth age 15-24.

Conversion therapy is currently banned in California, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, and the District of Columbia. Bills proposing to ban the practice are now under consideration in Massachusetts and Colorado.

The American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy have issued position statements warning about the dangers posed by conversation therapy. The Surgeon General of the United States and the U.N. Committee Against Torture have also expressed serious concerns over its continued use in the United States.