On Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and the state’s ban on conversion therapy practiced on minors.
“By signing into law GENDA and a ban on the fraudulent practice of conversion therapy, we are taking another giant step forward in advancing equal justice for every New Yorker,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We are once again sending a clear and proud message that there is no place for hate in our state, and anyone who engages in bigotry and discrimination will be held accountable.”
Mental health professionals have long recognized that therapies intended to change a person’s sexual orientation pose serious health risks.
The legislation treats engaging in conversion therapy with a patient under 18 as professional malpractice.
Joseph Anderson, president of the LGBTQ student union Haven at Cornell University in upstate Ithaca, NY, told the Cornell Sun that the bill’s passage is long overdue. “It is a moment to celebrate and thank our lawmakers in Albany for protecting transgender, gender non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals,” he said.
The Sun says that the bill was originally introduced in 2003 but failed to reach a vote on the senate floor until this year, when Democrats regained control of the Legislature. Previously, the bill has been voted on successfully in the Assembly for ten consecutive times.