Maine are one step closer to protecting LGBTI youth from conversion therapy

Maine Representative Ryan Fecteau

For the second year in a row, lawmakers voted to ban state-licensed counsellors from enacting conversion therapy on minors in Maine, US, yesterday (8 May).

The Maine House of Representative’s decision is a powerful move in protecting LGBTI youth from the harmful practise. The bill is how heading to the Senate for further consideration.

If ratified by senators, Maine will join 16 other US states (and two territories) that have banned conversion therapy.

What does it all mean?

Simply put, passing a law in most US states is a two-step process. States have a lower and upper chamber that introduce and pass legislation.

Each state (sans from Nebraska) has their own House of Representatives; the lower house of state legislature. Members vote to make and pass federal laws there.

Afterwards, bills are then passed onto the state’s Senate – the upper house – who can formally ratify legislation introduced in the lower house.

So, in other words, the lower chamber of Maine has passed the bill. That means it’s up to Maine’s senators to officially pass the measure.

The lower chamber’s decision came after two hours of heated, emotional debate, the Press Herald reported. The vote was 91-46, with five Republicans and five independents joining 81 Democrats to support the bill.

‘Has no place in Maine or anywhere else’

Furthermore, supporters of the bill were ecstatic.

Xavier Persad, senior legislative counsel at the Human Rights Campaign, said: ‘“It is heartening to see the Maine House of Representatives stand up for LGBTQ youth by passing this critical legislation that will protect some of the most vulnerable Mainers from an extremely damaging practice.

‘So-called “conversion therapy” is a harmful, debunked practice that has no place in Maine or anywhere else.

‘We’re grateful to Equality Maine and Representative Ryan Fecteau for their leadership in ensuring this bill passed through the House with [strong] bipartisan support.

‘Now, the Senate should act quickly to pass this legislation and send it to the governor’s desk.’

Conversion therapy is still common

Also called reparative therapy, medical organizations have widely critisized the treatment as traumatizing and harmful to minors.

In fact, the American Academy of Paediatrics warned against it as early as 1993. They said it reinforced anxiety and shame.

Despite such denouncement, the ‘therapy’ has remained common in pockets of the US.

But between 2012 and 2018, lawmakers across 14 states were kept busy with passing laws prohibiting conversion therapy for minors.

Connecticut, California, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia all have laws protecting youth from this abusive practice.

Though, the impact of the practise has been immeasurable. An estimated 698,000 LGBTI adults in the US have received conversion therapy according to research.

Around half of them underwent the unsound therapy as teens.

See also

National Guard leaders in five states defy Trump and refuse to dismiss trans troops

Ottawa banned cell phones in schools but refused to ban conversion therapy

Imagine Dragons call out conversion therapy in powerful awards speech

Author: Josh Milton

The post Maine are one step closer to protecting LGBTI youth from conversion therapy appeared first on Gay Star News.

Top Democrat denounces Trump’s trans troops ban as ‘act of cruelty’

After a screening of the documentary, TransMilitary, a leading Democrat has dubbed the new trans military ban an ‘act of cruelty.’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday (3 April) that Trump’s ban on trans service members will leave the President and his administration in the ‘dustbin of history.’

Reuters reported that Pelosi’s comments came after a screening of the 2018 documentary in Capital Hill, a neighbourhood in Washington D.C.

What did she say?

Pelosi is a longtime ally of LGBTI rights and she slammed supporters of the new limits. Scheduled to be imposed onto more than 15,000 trans troops on 12 April.

‘These people are going to be relics in the dustbin of history, they just don’t know it,’ Pelosi.

‘To them it’s inconceivable, to us it is inevitable. So we have to shorten the distance between the inconceivable to some and the inevitable to us.’

The Democratic speaker turned to the US Army Captain Jennifer Peace, a central figure in the documentary, and thanked her.

‘Thank you for shortening that distance,’ she said.

What is TransMilitary?

The documentary follows US trans service members as they perform their duties. Fighting for their right to serve openly.

Throughout the film, they win recognition during the Obama administration in 2016. Only to then lose it in 2017 under Trump.

It also covers elements of the legal battle that followed Trump’s decision.

Tracking the trans troops ban 

While Trump first instituted the ban in 2017, he received widespread backlash to his decision.

A month after that, he issued a memorandum declaring the end of trans service at the start of 2018.

But by the end of the year, a lower US court ruled against the policy and a judge said trans troops must be allowed to join.

Trump issued a new policy in March 2018, a more watered-down version of his initial expansive plan.

His efforts to reverse the Obama’s administration’s pro-trans policies was subject to four court challenges.

However, the US Supreme court struck down all four injunctions. Lifting blocks on the ban. Even a last-ditch appeal was struck down.

See also

US Supreme Court votes to allow trans military ban to go ahead

Trump’s White House ready to brief Pentagon on enforcing trans troops ban

US Pentagon release Q&A about how Trump’s trans troops ban… is not a ban

Author: Josh Milton

The post Top Democrat denounces Trump’s trans troops ban as ‘act of cruelty’ appeared first on Gay Star News.

Trump’s trans troops ban can go into effect, is ‘already wreaking havoc’

People protesting the trans military ban in NYC

The final barrier between trans troops being banned form serving in the US military was lifted earlier this week (26 March).

A federal appeals court struck down the last attempt to block the ban from going into effect, Bloomberg reported. 

As the DC Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request from the Trump administration to lift an injunction.

With the courts clearing the way for it, Trump’s ban will be implemented as soon as 12 April.

Why was the injunction? 

US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly initiated the last injunction.

But a three-judge panel in the Washington appeals court snuffed it, removing any hurdles for the ban to go through.

This followed January’s earlier win for Trump, when the high court ruled in his favor.

Legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights Shannon Minter lamented the news in an email statement.

She wrote: ‘The government’s plan is already wreaking havoc in the lives of dedicated transgender troops.

‘Who must now face the grim choice of suppressing their identity or leaving the military service.’

Previous attempts have failed

High courts previously lifted two other injunctions on the ban in January.

Culminating with a third judge doing the same.

But Judge Kollar-Kotelly declined to lift the ban she imposed. That was, until the US Supreme Court struck down her fourth injunction.

This was appealed, but the courts did not rule in the LGBTI troops’ favor.

Tracking the trans ban

Trump and his administration’s attempts to impose the ban have been bumpy, to say the least. But the last push he needed was this week’s news.

When the ban was first instituted  in 2017, Trump received vast backlash.

A month after that, he issued a memorandum declaring the end of trans service at the start of 2018.

But by the end of the year, a lower US court ruled against the policy and a judge said trans troops must be allowed to join.

Trump issued a new policy in March 2018, a more watered-down version of his initial expansive plan.

His efforts to reverse the Obama’s administration’s pro-trans policies was subject to four court challenges.

However, last week the US Supreme court struck down all four injunctions. Lifting blocks on the ban.

The Pentagon have since released a video attempted to decry opposition by showing the ban… is not a ban.

See also

This new TV ad demands Donald Trump drop his trans military ban

Trans military ban ‘a mistake’, says retired US army general

Trump’s trans troops ban will be enforced by April, a leaked memo revealed

Author: Josh Milton

The post Trump’s trans troops ban can go into effect, is ‘already wreaking havoc’ appeared first on Gay Star News.