Just weeks after Utah became the 19th state to ban the contraversial practice, Idaho Rep. John McCrostie introduced a bill that would ban conversion therapy for minors in the Idaho House Health and Welfare Committee on Feb. 10. It's McCrostie's fourth attempt, and it has already made real progress, with plans already on the table for bill 482 to receive a public hearing.
“It’s nice to see that this is advancing to the place that we can have a public discussion around the matter, to actually have the bill introduced in a committee hearing and to have the committee actually look into testimony and agree that this is a bill that deserves to be printed, and that warrants greater discussion around the subject of conversion therapy,” said McCrostie.
Conversion therapy seeks to change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. According to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation change efforts not only include risk of harm to those involved but are unlikely to succeed. A 2009 report from the APA found that negative side effects include anxiety, loss of sexual feeling, depression and suicidal thoughts.
“Even if you were to take issue with an LGBTQ person, for whatever reason that may be, I would hope that we would all agree that all of our young people in our state deserve the opportunity to grow up and to become the people that they're supposed to be, and not be riddled with concerns about whether or not they should kill themselves. At least they would get the opportunity to get to 18 years of age, so that they can make adult decisions on their own,” said McCrostie.
With support from the Idaho Counseling Association, the Trevor Project and faith-based communities, McCrostie said he is hopeful that young people will be protected by the collaborative efforts being taken to pass the bill.
Though a public hearing is expected, a date has not yet been set.