Several Atlanta City Council members are speaking out in opposition to the practice of conversion therapy. Council member Michael Julian Bond introduced a resolution Monday, unanimously passed by the council, stating the City’s opposition to the practice and advertising of conversion therapy. The resolution urges state leaders to ban the controversial practice, which medical experts say increases the risk of suicide, substance abuse, depression and anxiety.
“Conversion therapy has been proven to be a false medical practice that is harmful to the patients it claims to help,” said Bond. “We should be encouraging individuals, families and communities to embrace people for who they are. We encourage the state to join us in disallowing conversion therapy. By not doing so, it becomes a tacit endorsement of prejudice towards the LGBTQ community. Atlanta has taken the position of love, acceptance and tolerance, and we invite the state of Georgia to do the same.”
Comments by other council members include the following:
“I totally oppose conversion therapy and think it is a harmful and dangerous practice. We should accept people for who they are and not try to change them.” — District 1 Council member Carla Smith
“Our respective sexual identities are innate to who we are as human beings. They are not a condition to be treated. Atlanta celebrates and protects our collective diversity. Conversion therapy programs have no place in our city.” — District 2 Council member Amir Farokhi
“Conversion therapy is an unacceptable, pseudoscientific practice with no evidence exhibiting it is helpful. On the contrary, many studies, including those by renowned health organizations, have shown it is physically and mentally harmful. I feel strongly that it has no place in the City of Atlanta or our State.” — District 9 Council member Dustin Hillis
“Conversion therapy is an absolutely shameful practice that has no place in Atlanta or in our society. What our LGBTQ neighbors deserve, especially our youth, is our love and support.” — Post 2 At-Large Council member Matt Westmoreland