Utah is following 18 other states to ban “conversion therapy” for minors. The new rule took effect late Tuesday, Jan. 21, and was confirmed by a representative for Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, who directed licensing regulators to make the change on Wednesday, Jan. 22.
“We want to thank Governor Herbert and his administration for not allowing this issue to be politicized,” Troy Williams, the executive director of Equality Utah, said at a Wednesday news conference celebrating the news. “He saw how polarizing this was becoming, and he made the decision to allow science to prevail over politics. He kept his word to the LGBTQ community, and we are deeply grateful to him.”
The ban, however, doesn’t apply to clergy, religious counselors, parents, or grandparents, so long as they’re not acting as psychologists.
The fact that the ban passed in the state Legislature this year is a success after it was refused last year. It was reported that conservative lawmakers amended the bill so extensively that by the time it received committee approval, even its sponsor, Republican Rep. Craig Hall, had effectively disowned it. After the bill was voted out of the committee, it headed to the House floor.
Last June, Herbert announced his request, asking state regulators to review and propose new rules concerning the practice.
“I certainly have concerns about some of the abuse that I’ve heard talked about, but I’m not a psychologist,” Herbert said during a news conference. “This is not my background. I’m going to rely upon the experts to tell us what should be done, or not be done, or how it should be done.”
A host of medical professionals—including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics—has outright rejected conversion therapy as “futile and destructive.”
The infamous James case caused outrage last year after a court attempted to reward the mother for wanting to transition her 7-year-old son, James Younger, into a girl, despite the father’s objections.
The father then won the fight after numerous public figures weighed in on the case and after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) tweeted on Wednesday evening that Texas’s Child Protective Services agency is investigating the status of the child.
State governors have responded to the case by introducing the bill to prohibit gender reassignment medical treatment for minors.
If one is born male they’ll always be male. If one is born female they’ll always be female. Gender reassignment treatments do not change the DNA or switch the chromosomes, they alter hormone production and bodily features.
A patient suffering from gender dysphoria is suffering mentally and needs someone who cares enough about them to insist they seek counseling, not have parts altered or removed.