While plenty of people are simply debating how a person’s queerness came to be; whether they were born this way or if the environments they were in influenced their sexuality, plenty of others just want to know ‘how can we stop the person in question from having a non-heterosexual identity?’. For whatever reason, it’s more heard of than not for the people around said queer person (or for the queer person themselves) to turn to gay conversion therapy; therapy that seeks to ‘cure’ their queerness via methods that can only be described as offensive and deeply concerning.
Many people who have gone through gay conversion therapy have actually found that said conversion didn’t work and that they only ended up suppressing their feelings in the hopes of following a heterosexual life and indeed, it’s young queer people who are the most vulnerable as they have no way to escape should their parents see them put into the therapy program. That’s why so many people have been lobbying to have the conversion therapy banned for minors.
One of these places is New York, the typically liberal leaning state in America. However, when two LGBT-related bills made it to the floor of the New York Senate on Friday night (including the conversion therapy ban), the Senate failed to vote on either of them, despite the Senate session even being extended.
Advocates even called both bills “life saving” but GOP Senate leaders blocked the bills before they could go to the floor for vote, somewhat unfortunate considering that supporters of the bill say they had the votes for the two bills to pass, citing support from Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The second bill was the Gender Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which looked to protect trans* New York citizens from gender based discrimination in terms of housing, benefits, public transportation and employment, something that would be greatly needed considering the high rates of LGBT youths who are homeless or in poverty as a result of stifling discrimination.
The bills aren’t going to be forgotten about though, despite this setback as Allison Steinberg, communications director at Empire State Pride Agenda says that “we will not stop fighting for these bills until they pass,” and that “even when the Legislature is not in session, we will work to educate and build support for these bills and we are looking to election season this Fall, which could end up impacting bills like ours in the next session,” so we can look for both bills to return to the New York Senate in the hopes that they will pass soon.