Friday, February 15, 2019

Conversion therapy ban and birth certificate bill make progress in Colorado Legislature this week

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2019 at 5:02 PM

click to enlarge Jude testifying in committee in favor of House Bill 1039. - COURTESY ONE COLORADO
  • Courtesy One Colorado
  • Jude testifying in committee in favor of House Bill 1039.

Two major updates have come out of the Colorado Legislature this week, with potential impact to the state's LGBTQ community. Both the bill to ban conversion therapy and the bill to ease the path toward changing gender on birth certificates have been cycling through the Legislature for years with little progress in Republican-controlled committees. Now with Democrats running both the House and the Senate, these bills are poised to make history.

On Feb. 13, the bill to ban conversion therapy — a dangerous and ineffective process meant to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity — passed out of the Colorado House Public Health Care & Human Services committee, where it has been dead on arrival for the past four years. Now, with bi-partisan support, it will soon reach the House floor for a vote.

“What this practice does is harm children and falsely make them believe that something is wrong with them through the use of shame, rejection and psychological abuse,” reads a statement by Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, one of the bill’s sponsors. “We need to put an end to a practice that makes these youths six times more likely to have depression and eight times more likely to attempt suicide.”

In other Legislative news, another long-contested bill that would make it easier for transgender and nonbinary people to change the gender on their birth certificates (without court order, surgery or doctor recommendation) has been given a new name on its third reading. Now called “Jude’s Law,” this bill — currently on its way to the Colorado Senate — was named for a 12-year-old transgender girl, who has given testimony in support of similar legislation for four years running.

About the bill’s re-naming, Jude provided the following statement through LGBTQ advocacy organization One Colorado: “I’m so happy that I can be a part of such a phenomenal bill and the fact that it has now been named after me is a true honor! I feel very grateful and fortunate that we are one step closer to achieving basic rights for transgender people.”

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