Albany Co. Legislature has public hearing on banning conversion therapy on minors

April 26, 2018 10:03 AM

ALBANY – Data from the LGBT Health and Human Services in New York State shows in 2016, 10.5 percent of all LGBTQ youth reported being subjected to conversion therapies.

The Albany County Legislature is looking at a proposed law that would ban conversion therapy on minors. Tuesday night a public hearing was held on the proposal.

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“We should convey a strong message, this is nothing more than child abuse,” said Legislator Bryan Clenahan (D). “Being in Albany we're in the shadow of the Capitol, I think we can send a message up the hill, this should really be a statewide ban."

Conversion therapy is a medical practice that aims to change one’s sexual orientation or gender. It’s mainly aimed at the LGBTQ community. Many professional health associations have said, it doesn’t work.

“The use of mental health therapy for something that is not diagnosed as a disorder is problematic,” said the Executive Director of the New York State Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers Samantha Howell. “Homosexuality has not been a mental health disorder for some time now.”

Advocates who support conversion therapy often say their faith teaches that to choose to engage in homosexual conduct is a sin, and therapy can cause people to make different choices.

Speaking out in favor of the proposal to ban conversion therapy at the public hearing Tuesday night was a father who said parents need to accept their children for who they are.

Some legislators were asking, does it happen in Albany County?

One man who is gay, said it does.

"I was approached by two gentlemen who informed me that there was a way to fix me, this was in Albany County,” said Judd Krasher.

Krasher said he grew up in the area and many of his friends did do conversion therapy.

“They’re not doing so good, I’ll tell you that right now,” explained Krasher. “Many of them are dealing with huge amounts of depression and substance abuse.”

But not everyone at the public hearing supported the ban. One man who stood up said you can have alcoholics be converted through alcoholics anonymous, so he believed homosexuals could be converted.

While many legislators continued to ask question Tuesday night, Howell said Albany need to get with the times and show it won’t be tolerated.

"New York City’s already passed a ban, Buffalo’s passed a ban,” explained Howell.

The New York State Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is hosting a rally at the Capitol Wednesday to push for a ban on conversion therapy statewide.

In 2016 New York State enacted regulations that prevent health insurers from covering the process for minors, but there is no statewide ban.


Emily De Vito

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