Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a
Democrat, on Monday signed an executive directive that prohibits the
use of state or federal funds for therapies that attempt to alter the
sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBT youth.
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 order also directs departments to “explore
what further actions can be taken to protect minors” from such
Whitmer also called on the GOP-led
legislature to approve a state ban on the practice.
“The actions we take today will serve
as a starting point in protecting our LGBTQ+ youth from the damaging
practice of conversion therapy and in ensuring that Michigan is a
reflection of true inclusion,” she said in a statement.
The News reported that it was
unclear if any state or federal funds were being used for conversion
Erin Knott, executive director of
Equality Michigan, an LGBT rights advocate, cheered the news.
“No child should be subjected to the
abusive practice of so-called conversion therapy, which sends the
harmful message that there is something wrong with who you are,”
In 2014, the National Center for
Lesbian Rights (NCLR), created Born Perfect, a survivor-led campaign
to end conversion therapy. Shannon Minter, legal director for NCLR,
applauded Whitmer's move, saying that she has prioritized “the
health and safety of Michiganders.”
“Conversion therapy has been
condemned by every leading medical and mental health professional
organization in the country,” Minter said in a statement.
Twenty states and at least 70 cities
have enacted laws that prohibit the practice.