West Palm Beach on Monday approved an
ordinance that prohibits therapies that attempt to alter the
sexuality or gender identity of LGBT youth, becoming the fourth
Florida municipality to do.
Palm Beach City Commission unanimously approved the move after
holding a public hearing on the legislation.
Dr. Rachel Needle, a licensed
psychologist, told commissioners that conversion therapy, also called
reperative therapy, is based on two false premises.
“First, it is based on the falsehood
that being gay, lesbian or transgender is a mental disorder or defect
that needs to be cured,” Needle said. “And secondly, it is based
on the presumption that being LGBTQ is something that can actually be
changed through therapy.”
“Attempting to change someone's
sexual orientation or gender identity can have a devastating impact
on a minor,” she added.
LGBT rights group the Palm Beach County
Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) turned to local officials after efforts
at the state level fizzled.
Miami, Miami Beach and Wilton Manors
have enacted similar laws, while North Bay Village, El Portal and Bay
Harbor Islands are debating whether to follow suit.