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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 28, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 26
In celebration of Pride month, Sen. Murray highlights half-century of LGBTQIA+ progress, condemns sham conversion therapy
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In celebration of Pride month, Sen. Murray highlights half-century of LGBTQIA+ progress, condemns sham conversion therapy

WASHINGTON, DC (June 27, 2019) - As Pride month comes to a close, today US Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) stood up for children and the LGBTQIA+ community in Washington state and across the country by advocating for an end to the harmful practice of conversion therapy. In a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Murray introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act (TFPA), which would ban conversion therapy across the country. During her remarks, Sen. Murray also laid out her additional efforts in support of the LGBTQIA+ community, and called for more to be done to ensure full equality for all, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The top Democrat on the Senate education committee - which help sets policies for our nation's K-12 schools, colleges, and universities - Sen. Murray has been an ardent supporter of LGBTQIA+ rights, and has recently railed against discriminatory judges and worked to push legislation that would strengthen protections for LGBTQIA+ people, such as the Be HEARD Act and the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act. While conversion therapy has been banned in Washington state since 2018, Sen. Murray's legislation stems from evidence that conversion therapy in other states across the country has been shown to lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior for children. In the US nearly 700,000 LGBTQIA+ adults have experienced conversion therapy in their lifetime, more than half of whom were children at the time.

Key excerpts:

'As we close out this month's annual celebration of Pride, I come to the floor today to reintroduce legislation to further protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and gender-nonconforming individuals from the dogma of our nation's homophobic and transphobic past because even as we reflect on the progress we've made - we still have more work to do to achieve full equality.'

'In 2019, we know that being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community isn't an affliction, a disease, or some chronic condition requiring medical treatment, but rather the politicians who say it is are on the wrong side of history.'

'I'm proud that my home state of Washington banned conversion therapy but that's not enough so long as any child - or any person - in our country can be harmed by this sham of a practice. I'm very proud today to be here to reintroduce the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act and to remind all of our friends that we stand with them throughout history and throughout the future to make sure they are protected with their rights.'

Read the full text of the Sen. Murray's speech, below:

'Thank you, M. Chair.

'Half a century ago, members of the LGBTQIA+ community - tired of being accosted, abused, and assaulted - just because of who they were or who they loved, took a stand to say 'enough is enough' - and pushed back against the forces of history that said they were anything less than...

'Today, thanks to the sacrifice of freedom fighters like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and so many others - both named and unnamed - who dared that day to live their entire truth, countless others have been set free.

'And now fifty years later - through dogged persistence and sacrifice - we've been able to pass laws and create policies that respect and protect members of the LGBTQIA+ community from challenging hateful bans against lesbian and gay relationships to securing landmark civil rights protections against hate crimes to finally making marriage equality the law of our land.

'This year - as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall protests that sparked the modern movement for LGBTQ equality - I am proud to stand here on the floor of the United States Senate as an unapologetic ally of this vibrant community.

'And as we close out this month's annual celebration of Pride, I come to the floor today to reintroduce legislation to further protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and gender-nonconforming individuals from the dogma of our nation's homophobic and transphobic past, because even as we reflect on the progress we've made - we still have more work to do to achieve full equality.

'In the Senate, I've been proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the community in Washington state and around the country to continue our progress. And with unanimous consent I will put my entire statement in the record.

'I'm grateful to my colleague Sen. Booker - and our friend Rep. Lieu - for joining me today in reintroducing the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act - the first federal ban on so-called 'conversion therapy. Because in 2019, we know that being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community isn't an affliction, a disease, or some chronic condition requiring medical treatment, but rather the politicians who say it is are on the wrong side of history.

'In fact, we know now that conversion therapy is a painful and discriminatory practice that the American Psychological Association has said 'is unlikely to be successful' in changing someone's sexual orientation and would 'involve some risk of harm - contrary to the claims of practitioners and advocates' of conversion therapy. And it's a practice that's especially harmful to LGBTQIA+ children - who we already know are vulnerable to increased harassment and discrimination because of who they are.

'Now, I'm proud that my home state of Washington banned conversion therapy, but that's not enough so long as any child - or any person - in our country can be harmed by this sham of a practice.

'I'm very proud today to be here to reintroduce the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act and to remind all of our friends that we stand with them throughout history and throughout the future to make sure they are protected with their rights.'

Courtesy of Sen. Patty Murray

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