Yesterday, the Colorado House of Representatives passed HB1129, legislation to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” And last Friday, the Colorado House passed HB1039, legislation that would allow transgender Coloradans to update the gender marker on their birth certificate without restrictive and unnecessary surgical requirements. Both bills now head to the Colorado Senate for consideration.
“We thank the representatives who voted to advance these measures and affirm the equal dignity of all Coloradans — including LGBTQ people,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “No young person should ever be subjected to a practice that amounts to child abuse, and it’s critically important that transgender people have the ability to ensure their legal documents match their identity. As we work with local advocates to build a Colorado that is more inclusive and welcoming to all, we urge the Colorado Senate to swiftly pass both of these pro-equality bills.”
HB1039 is an important step in the fight to affirm transgender Coloradans, who may be unnecessarily exposed to discrimination, harassment, and violence when presenting basic forms of identification. Rep. Brianna Titone (D-Arvada), Colorado’s first openly transgender lawmaker, testified in support of the bill.
If HB1129 is enacted, Colorado would become the 16th state to adopt laws protecting youth from so-called “conversion therapy,” following Connecticut, California, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia. A growing number of municipalities have also enacted similar protections, including cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, New York, Arizona, and Wisconsin.
There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. To the contrary, research has clearly shown that these practices pose devastating health risks for LGBTQ young people such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior. The harmful practice is condemned by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association.