McMorrow: LGBTQ conversion therapy is ‘unethical,’ must be banned

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    State Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) and Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) introduced legislation this week banning conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth in Michigan.

    Senate Bill 284 and House Bill 4515 prohibit treatments that seek to force changes to sexual orientation or gender identity for those younger than 18.

    McMorrow rose on the Senate floor on Thursday to ask her colleagues to co-sponsor the bill.

    “Conversion therapy is not therapy,” she said. “It is not grounded in science; it is immoral; it is unethical. And it is harming our young people by telling them that at their core, they are broken.”

    McMorrow asked her colleagues to think about when they were young.

    “I’d like you to think back to long before we were all in this room,” McMorrow said. “… I want you to think about the first time you fell in love. Maybe you didn’t know it was love yet. Maybe it was the first time you looked at somebody else and there was something inside you that stirred so deep that you just wanted to spend time with that person. … Think of the joy. And think of how that impacted who you are today.”

    Then she described what conversion therapy does to LGBTQ kids.

    Yousef Rabhi | House Democrats photo

    “Now imagining yourself at that age, think about somebody telling you that you are wrong,” she said. “That your feelings are wrong and that you are broken. That all of these newfound feelings and beliefs that you know to be true in your soul about who you are and who you love and who you gravitate towards is wrong. That something so core to you is unwelcome. Now imagine that going further. Imagine going through the process of you being forced out of you.”

    Michigan would become the 17th state in the country to ban the practice if the bills were enacted.

    “Conversion therapy is based on prejudice and has been discredited by modern medicine,” Rabhi said in a statement. “It is time to end the brutal legacy of this practice, which has caused deep psychological damage for many Michiganders.”

    The legislation, so far, does not have any GOP co-sponsors. Republicans control both chambers.

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    Susan J. Demas is an 18-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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