West Palm Beach bans 'ex-gay' therapy to minors

Wed. October 26, 2016 8:13 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

West Palm Beach on Monday approved an ordinance that prohibits therapies that attempt to alter the sexuality or gender identity of LGBT youth, becoming the fourth Florida municipality to do.

The West Palm Beach City Commission unanimously approved the move after holding a public hearing on the legislation.

Dr. Rachel Needle, a licensed psychologist, told commissioners that conversion therapy, also called reperative therapy, is based on two false premises.

"First, it is based on the falsehood that being gay, lesbian or transgender is a mental disorder or defect that needs to be cured," Needle said. "And secondly, it is based on the presumption that being LGBTQ is something that can actually be changed through therapy."

"Attempting to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity can have a devastating impact on a minor," she added.

LGBT rights group the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) turned to local officials after efforts at the state level fizzled.

Miami, Miami Beach and Wilton Manors have enacted similar laws, while North Bay Village, El Portal and Bay Harbor Islands are debating whether to follow suit.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine