New Hampshire House Upholds Conversion Therapy Ban, Rejects Anti-Transgender Student Measure
Advocates applaud House rejection of HB 1077 and HB 1180, two bills that targeted New Hampshire’s LGBTQ youth
CONCORD, N.H. – The New Hampshire House today rejected an effort to repeal the state’s ban on conversion therapy. The bipartisan 197-147 vote rejecting HB 1077 upholds the law signed by Governor Sununu in 2018 protecting LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and discredited practice. In a separate vote, the House also rejected HB 1180 by a vote of 175-167, which would have invited discrimination and exclusion against transgender students in schools.
Conversion therapy – attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity – has been proven detrimental to the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ youth, resulting in serious psychological harm including increased risk of suicidal ideation. Every major medical and mental health association has condemned the practice as both harmful and ineffective. New Hampshire is one of 20 states to have banned the practice on youth under 18.
HB 1180 sought to allow transgender students to be excluded from school sports teams. The measure was a new attempt at a proposed ban the legislature has rejected in past sessions and is reflective of a wave of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in statehouses in recent years.
Advocates applauded the House for voting to maintain protections for LGBTQ youth:
“Today New Hampshire lawmakers on both sides of the aisle affirmed once again that freedom for all means ensuring LGBTQ young people in the state are safe from the long-discredited practice of conversion therapy and that transgender students, like all students, are welcomed and included,” said community leader Palana Hunt-Hawkins.
“It’s a huge relief to see our representatives reject the cruelty of HB 1180 and to affirm that our daughter should not be treated differently from other girls because of who she is,” said Abi Maxwell, mother of a 9-year-old transgender daughter who loves to ski and hopes to join a ski racing team when she is old enough. “Like all parents we simply want our child to be happy and healthy and to have the same opportunity as other kids to play on a team with her friends.”
“We applaud the New Hampshire House for rejecting a cruel attempt to single out transgender students for exclusion and for upholding the state’s commitment to protect LGBTQ youth and their families from the discredited, costly, and harmful practice of conversion therapy,” said Chris Erchull, Staff Attorney at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders.
“The New Hampshire House today made clear that transgender youth belong in the Granite State, free from discrimination and exclusion, and that the discredited, harmful practice of conversion therapy should remain banned,” said Frank Knaack, Policy Director at the ACLU of New Hampshire. “Amidst the growing number of legislative attacks on LGBTQ+ youth across the country, we thank our state’s lawmakers for continuing to protect LGBTQ+ people in New Hampshire. We will continue to fight to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ people in the Granite State.”
“The Trevor Project applauds the New Hampshire House of Representatives for preserving the protections against so-called ‘conversion therapy’ that Governor Sununu signed into law in 2018,” said Troy Stevenson, Senior Campaign Manager for the Trevor Project. ” We will be vigilant in continuing to defend those vital protections and the LGBTQ youth that depend on them across the country. Our research has found that not only does this discredited practice and its associated harms cost the U.S. an estimated $9.23 billion annually, but it also is linked to significantly increased risk for suicide among LGBTQ youth.”
“Today New Hampshire took the lifesaving steps of continuing to protect vulnerable LGBTQ youth from ‘conversion therapy’ and blocking a harmful law subjecting trans youth to discrimination. When I was a 16-year-old teenager I was not in a position to consent to a treatment that would cause me years of harm to recover. I’m proud of New Hampshire and their message to all LGBTQ youth that they are Born Perfect,” said Mathew Shurka, Born Perfect Co-Founder and “conversion therapy” survivor.