REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (WCMH) – Reynoldsburg passed legislation Monday banning conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ youth.
In a unanimous 6-0 vote, Reynoldsburg City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting licensed medical professionals from subjecting LGBTQ+ youth to conversion therapy. Reynoldsburg marks the ninth city in Ohio to enact a municipal ban on conversion therapy.
Specifically, the ordinance said, “the city of Reynoldsburg recognizes that efforts which seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity are harmful to young people.”
The ordinance outlined that effort’s to change one’s sexual orientation or gender identity pose critical health risks, including depression, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, self-hatred and more. The council cited a number of organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs, for asserting that sexual orientation change efforts like conversion therapy may be harmful.
The state of Ohio currently does not have laws explicitly outlawing conversion therapy, leading to municipalities in Ohio to set their our prohibitions. Reynoldsburg joins cities like Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Akron and Toledo who have banned conversion therapy.
“Across the country, we are seeing more and more cities take a stand in support of LGBTQ young people by enacting protections from the harms of so-called conversion ‘therapy,'” said Troy Stevenson, Senior Advocacy Campaign Manager at The Trevor Project, in a release. “I applaud the elected officials of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, for joining alongside these cities and showing their unanimous support for the youth in their community with this ordinance.”
Stevenson said The Trevor Project hopes Reynoldsburg’s example will encourage other leaders across Ohio to follow suit.
According to The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 17% of LGBTQ+ youth reported being threatened with or subjected to conversion therapy. In addition, a peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project published in the American Journal of Public Health found that LGBTQ+ youth who underwent conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide and more than 2.5 times as likely to report multiple suicide attempts in the past year.
“There is a malicious assertion behind the bogus practice of conversion therapy — and that is the assertion that LGBTQ identities are a ‘problem’ or a ‘defect’ in need of ‘fixing,’” said Joseph Soza, central Ohio organizer at Equality Ohio, in a release. “To assert such an idea upon young people, in their most impressionable stages of life, plants the harmful idea that there is something wrong with who they are. This ordinance sends a clear contrasting message to LGBTQ youth that they are valued, seen, and celebrated for exactly who they are. I am so proud of the city of Reynoldsburg for reflecting this message in its city code, and making its community an even safer place for LGBTQ young people.”
Reynoldsburg’s ordinance, as passed, is below. It will go into effect 30 days after it is signed by Mayor Joe Begeny.