Idaho bill seeks to ban mental health therapists from performing conversion therapy

Idaho Capitol
Maxbatt / Wikimedia Commons

BOISE, Idaho — A new bill in the Idaho House aims to ban mental health therapists from performing conversion therapy on LGBTQ youth.

House Bill 483  is sponsored by Rep. John McCrostie (D-Garden City).

Conversion therapy is an attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. In most cases, it’s used to try and turn those in the LGBTQ community back to heterosexuals.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry finds there “‘conversion therapies’ lack scientific credibility and clinical utility,” adding that such therapies are harmful.

The American Medical Association and the American Counseling Association have also discredited it, as it often leads to depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, and suicide.

The Idaho legislature introduced the bill to the House Health and Welfare Committee on Thursday. It received almost unanimous support for a full hearing. If passed, the bill would prevent all Idaho licensed mental health professionals from utilizing conversion therapy with minors.

Utah approved a similar statute in 2020, and 20 states have already outlawed conversion therapy for minors.

“By banning conversion therapy for minors, we can prevent suicide and better safeguard our LGBTQ youth, helping put them on the path to future success,” McCrostie said.

A recent study found that youth that underwent conversion therapy were twice as likely to commit suicide. Another study found that 13% of LGBTQ youth were subjected to conversion therapy, and 83% of them reported it occurred when they were under the age of 18.

“Today, we are one step closer to making sure LGBTQ youth in Idaho are protected from this dangerous practice that has led so many young people to take their lives,” said McCrostie.

If passed, the bill would not apply to clergy, parents or grandparents.

READ: WA Legislature OKs pause to long-term care program and tax

READ: Spokane City Councilmember explains why he refuses to wear a mask