Ferndale, Michigan, a Detroit suburb,
has approved an ordinance that prohibits therapies that attempt to
alter the sexual orientation or gender identity of people who
identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
Such therapies go by names such as
“conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy,” “sexual
orientation change efforts” or “ex-gay therapy.”
According to The
Detroit News, the city council voted unanimously in favor of
the ban on Monday.
City Councilmember Julia Music, an LGBT
rights advocate and organizer of the city's annual Pride event,
initiated the legislation.
“It’s essential for LGBTQAI people
to have access to proper mental health care, and for those who are
impacted by conversion therapy to access care that can start to undo
the harm conversion tactics inflict,” said Music. “Council
bringing up a ban on this therapy continues our mission of building
safe and inclusive spaces [for] all people.”
Dave Garcia, executive director for
Affirmations, an LGBT community center, said that the ban was
necessary because such therapies are harmful.
“Conversion therapy is hurting and
killing people,” Garcia said. “I've seen for myself the damage
this practice does to our youth. It's not therapy, and we should not
allow it in our city.”
Violators face up to 93 days in jail
and a $500 fine.