LGBTQ advocates are calling it the most inclusive policy of its kind. On Wednesday, the Tallahassee City Commission unanimously voted to ban conversion therapy for minors.
The vote has been hailed nationally as a major win for Florida, which is among the 28 U.S. states lacking even basic LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. It comes as advocates anticipate the 11th Circuit Court to rule on whether a similar conversion therapy ban in South Florida’s Boca Roton is constitutional.
The new Tallahassee ordinance goes beyond outlawing conversion therapy for minors. It also forbids city funds from going toward the debunked practice.
“This is a big victory for our LGBTQ community and an important message to end this barbaric practice of psychologically torturing young people,” activists from Equality Florida said in a media statement.
Scott McCoy, interim deputy legal director of the LGBTQ Rights Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, also called on the rest of Florida to follow suit in banning the practice.
“Taking a stand against conversion therapy is an extremely important step in the right direction to support the well-being of Tallahassee’s LGBTQ residents,” he said. “But the commission has also sent an important message to LGBTQ youth: You are perfect the way you are and do not need to be fixed.”
In a recent report, The Trevor Project found that LGBTQ youth who have undergone conversion therapy are twice as likely to attempt suicide than those who have not.
“This conduct has been discredited by prominent medical associations and proven to be dangerous,” said Sam Brinton, head of advocacy and government affairs for The Trevor Project. “This new ordinance will send a message to the LGBTQ youth of Tallahassee that they should be proud of who they are, and hopefully, it will inspire other localities in Florida to take similar action as well."