Erie County Legislator Patrick B. Burke (D-7 th District) introduced a local law that will ban the practice of conversion therapy in Erie County. Conversion therapy is the practice of attempting to reform someone that was born LGBTQ+ by means of psychiatric therapy into a heterosexual. The practice is highly controversial and is not scientifically proven. This practice has been rejected by all credible medical and mental health organizations.

“The overwhelming evidence says that inflicting this phony therapy on children and adolescents isn’t just medically ineffective, but it is detrimental to a child’s wellbeing. It is time to call this practice what it is, abuse.” said Burke. “Kids are exceptionally effectible, and the last thing an
LGBTQ+ child needs is to be told that the way they were born is wrong and must be changed.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo has made it known that New York’s position on conversion therapy is standing aggressively against the practice. In February 2016, the governor issued an executive order banning insurance reimbursement for those who provide conversion therapy throughout the state, saying “conversion therapy is a hateful and fundamentally flawed practice that is counter to everything this state stands for.”

“Instituting a local law to codify the governor’s executive order is the next phase in making sure
this illegal, abusive, and outdated practice is eradicated from our society,” concluded Burke. The local law, titled “Prevention of Emotional Neglect and Childhood Endangerment,” will be debated in December and into the New Year.