Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) signed legislation on Wednesday making it illegal for licensed therapists in Nevada to attempt to convince children that identify as being gay to be heterosexual, a practice commonly referred to as “conversion therapy.” Nevada is the eighth state to pass such legislation.
According to the legislation, which was sponsored by state Sen. David Parks, a Democrat representing Las Vegas, “‘Conversion therapy’ means any practice or treatment that seeks to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person, including, without limitation, a practice or treatment that seeks to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward persons of the same gender.”
“Nevada has a long record of passing progressive legislation to protect the LGBTQ community with bipartisan support, and I want to thank Governor Sandoval for signing this critical legislation to protect LGBTQ youth,” Parks said in a statement, as reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal. “Banning conversion therapy makes Nevada a safer place for children who are at a higher risk of anxiety, depression, substance abuse and even suicide.”
Prior to its passage, the bill was amended to include protections for religious organizations and clergy, whose religious views might warrant speaking to children about homosexuality in a way that would otherwise be illegal under the provisions contained in the legislation.
Yvette Cantu Schneider, a self-described “bisexual” who advocates for LGBTQ rights, said conversion therapy doesn’t work and can cause serious problems.
“I think this bill is important because it illegitimatizes the idea that there’s something wrong with being gay,” Schneider said, according to the Gazette-Journal. “I think that’s what makes it important for children. They’re not getting that message that, ‘Hey, there’s something wrong with me.’”