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Nevada Senator Introduces Bill To Ban Sexual Conversion Therapy

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A bill before the Nevada Legislature would ban sexual conversion therapy.

On Monday, St. Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas sponsored a bill, introduced to the Senate Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee, that would ban juveniles from receiving a controversial form of therapy aimed ridding them of homosexuality.

On Wednesday, the Obama Administration condemned the practice sometimes called reparative or conversion therapy. The move came after the widely publicized suicide of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn, who wrote in a suicide note that religious therapists had tried to convert her back to being a boy.

Executive Director of the Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada Ron Lawrence testified on behalf of the ban at the hearing Monday, recanting stories of numerous patients who have reported symptoms similar to that of post-traumatic stress disorder after receiving such treatment.

“There are definitely bio-genetic components to sexual orientation,” Lawrence said. “So telling somebody that they need to change that goes against the nature they are born with … although people will deny that.”

Lawrence said conversion therapy “victims” can show signs of distress over their personal worth and well-being, an intense fear of rejection from friends and family, dissociative memory sessions and flashbacks and can often have nightmares.

California passed a similar ban on using conversion therapy on minors in 2012, and upheld by an appeals court in 2013. Several stories have been published on the patients of conversion therapy, and the psychiatrists who have renounced the practice.

For now, the committee took no action on the bill.

Ron Lawrence, marriage and family therapist, executive director, Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada

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Prior to taking on the role of Broadcast Operations Manager in January 2021, Rachel was the senior producer of KNPR's State of Nevada program for 6 years. She helped compile newscasts and provided coverage for and about the people of Southern Nevada, as well as major events such as the October 1 shooting on the Las Vegas strip, protests of racial injustice, elections and more. Rachel graduated with a bachelor's degree of journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University.