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Contact: Michael Avitzur
Director of Government Relations

Statement by BBA President Lisa Arrowood on H.97: An Act Relative to Abusive Practices to Change Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Minors

The Boston Bar Association is proud to stand with a broad coalition of child-welfare, human rights and health care organizations – including Boston Children's Hospital, Children's League of Massachusetts, the American Counseling Association and the American Bar Association – in supporting a ban on "Conversion Therapy" for minors by licensed health care professionals.

The American Psychological Association (APA) has long held that gender identity and sexual orientation are at the core of who we all are as individuals; they are not mental disorders. Treating them as such runs against best practices in medicine. In fact, a 2007 APA task force report found not only clear evidence that conversion therapy does not work, but also some significant evidence that it is harmful.  

Health care professionals – including licensed social workers, child psychologists, school social workers, therapists and other state-licensed professionals – are expected to assist their clients by helping them learn to accept their individual gender identity and sexual orientation, not to cause further harm or suffering. This bill ensures that medical and psychological treatment for our children will follow the highest ethical standards.

Conversion Therapy has been banned in California, New Jersey, Oregon and the District of Columbia.  We look forward to the day when children in Massachusetts are protected from these practices as well.

The Boston Bar Association traces its origins to meetings convened by John Adams, who provided pro bono representation to the British soldiers prosecuted for the Boston Massacre and went on to become the nation’s second president. Its mission is to advance the highest standards of excellence for the legal profession, facilitate access to justice, serve the community at large and promote diversity and inclusion.