Colorado becomes the 18th state to ban dangerous practice of ‘conversion therapy’ on young people

(May 31) – Gov. Polis signed two historic bipartisan bills led by House Democrats Rep. Daneya Esgar and Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet to ban the dangerous and discredited practice of ‘conversion therapy’ and to allow Coloradans to update their identity documents to reflect their authentic selves.

The first law signed was sponsored by Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, and Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, banning the harmful and widely discredited practice of ‘conversion therapy’ on young people. The law protects our LGBTQ youth in Colorado from a dangerous and discredited practice that is aimed at changing their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“This is a historic moment and this law is about allowing Coloradans to be their authentic selves. Today, we’re putting an end to a practice that makes these young people much more likely to have depression or attempt suicide,” said Rep. Michaelson Jenet. “I’m proud of the work that went into this new law and to everyone who joined this effort.”

“We’re sending a strong message to Colorado’s LGBTQ youth and standing up for their rights to be their authentic selves. This ‘therapy’ has been proven to be dangerous and harmful.” said Rep. Daneya Esgar, co-chair of the LGBTQ caucus. “I’m thankful to every Coloradan who worked tirelessly to finally get this bill signed into law.”

HB19-1129 includes disciplinary actions for any licensees with their licensing board if conversion therapy is practiced on young person. The bill is aimed at state-licensed medical and mental health practitioners who falsely claim that being gay, bisexual or transgender is a mental illness.

The American Psychological Association found that the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy on young people makes them three times more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, six times more likely to fall into depression, and eight times more likely to attempt suicide.

This is the fifth time this bill is being introduced at the legislature and Rep. Michaelson Jenet’s second time bringing it forward. The law makes Colorado the 18th state to ban conversion therapy on minors.

The Governor thensigned on the west steps of the state capitol a bill sponsored by Rep. Daneya Esgar, that will allow transgender Coloradans to change the gender on their birth certificate and other official identification documents without undergoing surgery or appearing in front of a judge, also known as “Jude’s Law.”

“This new law is about personal freedom. Not having updated ID documents interferes with the ability of transgender Coloradans to live their lives openly and honestly and to be their authentic selves,” said Rep. Esgar, co-chair of the LGBTQ caucus.

The bill was also changed to the title Jude’s law, named after Jude, a transgender student who has testified in support of this bill every year for the last five years. This bill was amended and will now be known as “Jude’s Law.” Jude and her mother were on the House Floor when the amendment to change the name of the bill was passed on a bipartisan vote of 46-17.

“We named this bill after Jude because she showed strength and courage to come year after year to the capitol to testify in support of this legislation since she was nine years old. My colleagues and I have watched her grow up in front of our eyes. She has been simply asking this legislature to give her the ability to live her most genuine life. Today we’re making that a reality,” Rep. Esgar concluded.

Current law requires transgender Coloradans to undergo surgery and then appear in front of a judge to prove the surgical procedure before they can update the gender on their birth certificate. They are then given an amended version of their birth certificate which can sometimes force a transgender person to out themselves when asked why their birth certificate is amended.

This law will grant them an entirely new birth certificate, without going through cumbersome and expensive hurdles like surgery or appearing in front of a judge, to have their documents match their gender identity.

HB19-1039 will allow transgender Coloradans to change the gender designation their birth certificate to male, female or X, to correspond with their gender identity. The X gender marker does not stand for intersex, it means that the individual does not identify as male nor female. Current law also requires a person to file legal notice in a newspaper three times and include their current name and proposed new name before they can change it; this law removes that requirement.

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