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North Carolina Gov. Signs Executive Order Prohibiting Use Of State Funds For ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (image via Instagram/NC_Governor)

It may not be a full ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ but North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has signed an executive order that prohibits state tax funds from being used for the harmful practice on LGBTQ children in his state.

Conversion therapy, also called ‘ex-gay therapy’ by some, is the dangerous practice of attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Conversion therapy has been widely denounced as discredited pseudoscience by leading professional medical associations including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association.
Executive Order No. 97 blocks medical/mental health providers who receive state or federal funds allocated to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services from using those funds for ‘ex-gay’ therapy on minors.

The EO made note of statistics from The Trevor Project indicating 42% of gay, lesbian and bisexual teens who undergo the discredited practice attempt suicide. And 57% of transgender minors who are subjected to conversion therapy have made suicide attempts.

In a statement on the executive order, Gov. Cooper said, “State taxpayer money shouldn’t be used for a practice on children that major medical associations agree is harmful and ineffective. Conversion therapy has been shown to pose serious health risks, and we should be protecting all of our children, including those who identify as LGBTQ, instead of subjecting them to a dangerous practice.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 18 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico ban conversion therapy for minors.

The Trevor Project issued a statement commending Cooper “for taking decisive action to highlight the dangers of conversion therapy.”

“While his executive order is a great first step in protecting North Carolinian youth, we must continue to push for comprehensive protections,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project.

Brinton included a call to action asking the North Carolina state legislature “to take up legislation to stop licensed practitioners from violating the ethical guidelines of their profession, and harming the most vulnerable youth in the Tar Heel State.”

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