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Anchorage Becomes First Alaskan City to Ban Conversion Therapy

Anchorage

Anchorage has banned conversion therapy on minors.

After a two-day hearing, the assembly of Alaska's largest city passed an ordinance Wednesday barring medical professionals from subjecting LGBTQ+ youth to the harmful practice of trying to turn them straight or cisgender. The vote was 9 to 2.

The ban applies only to licensed doctors and therapists, with exemptions for clergy members and parents.

“One day, this practice will be banned throughout the United States,” Assembly Chair Felix Rivera said, reports the Anchorage Daily News. “And then one day, we are going to look back and we’re going to wonder why this was ever a debate, and why this practice was ever allowed,”

Anchorage is the first city in Alaska to ban conversion therapy; in doing so, it established the state as the 40th in the United States where some jurisidiction has taken action against the practice, which has been discredited by the American Psychological Association and major medical groups. In total, 20 states and dozens of cities have banned its use on minors.

The Trevor Project worked with assembly members to help pass the ordinance. Sam Brinton, Trevor's vice president of advocacy and government affairs, applauded the action.

“According to data from The Trevor Project’s new national survey, LGBTQ youth who underwent conversion therapy reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not," Brinton noted. "From Alaska to Maine, The Trevor Project is working in cities and counties across the country to protect LGBTQ young people from this dangerous and discredited practice."

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