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Norman City Council Approves Ban On Conversion Therapy

City of Norman

The harmful and discredited practice of conversion therapy is now banned in the city of Norman.

The city council on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance prohibiting licensed health care providers from attempting to change the sexuality or gender identity of LGBTQ individuals, a practice research shows increases suicide risk in young people subjected to it.

"We have some sadistic laws — or, practices that are allowed in this state, and 'conversion abuse' is one of those. I have no reservation at all with banning it in Norman because that is the purview of government, is to protect the people, especially the defenseless," said Councilmember Alison Petrone.

The practice, popular in some religious circles, has been disavowed by human rights organizations and the American Medical, Psychological and Psychiatric Associations.

"Conversion therapy is child abuse. It causes increased suicide rates. I came out in the 1990s as being bisexual, and I could not imagine someone telling me that I couldn’t love who I wanted or that I had to go and talk to someone that told me that what I was doing was wrong," said Councilmember Brandi Studley.

Dozens of cities across the U.S. have implemented conversion therapy bans similar to Norman's, as have numerous states. Norman's ban extends only to licensed health care providers, not churches or unlicensed counselors.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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