A bill has been introduced in the Minnesota Senate that would prevent minors and vulnerable adults from subjection to conversion therapy, which consists of treatments aimed at changing a person’s sexuality from homosexual to heterosexual. The bill has received support from the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, which has a chapter at the University of Minnesota.
This bill protects young people and society’s most vulnerable from being manipulated and psychologically damaged. The American Psychiatric Association also condemns conversion therapy, saying it has great possible risks, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior.
Arguments against the bill often come from strong conservatives who say it would infringe on parents’ rights to raise their children.
However, this argument collapses fairly quickly when scrutinized.
Parents’ rights over their children only extend so far. Adults should, under their own will, be able to receive conversion therapy. However, this is not the case with children.
As a rule of thumb, minors are not allowed to engage in potentially harmful activities. Given that children do not decide to pursue conversion therapies and many psychological experts argue that such therapies can do harm, a law protecting minors’ rights would be valuable.
Conversion therapy stands on the shaky grounds of junk pseudoscience and hyper-religious parents hell-bent on coercing children to reject their own identities. For the sake of preserving children’s autonomy and protecting young and vulnerable people, I hope this bill becomes law.