March 9, 2018 at 6:52 pm EDT | by Staff reports
LGBT needs addressed in Calif. bill package
LGBT youth, gay news, Washington Blade

California state Capitol (Photo by Henri Sivonen; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

SAN FRANCISCO — California lawmakers will consider a bill package for this year’s legislative session that includes provisions for youth and LGBT health issues, the Bay Area Reporter reports.

Public services for homeless LGBT youth, needs of LGBT seniors and a crackdown on “ex-gay” therapy are on the slate. Lawmakers may even include an apology to the community for past anti-gay laws, the Reporter reports.

Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, told the Reporter he’s focused on “addressing the disparities in health and well-being” that LGBT residents face.

The lead author of two of the more influential proposals this year is gay Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), who chairs the Legislative LGBT Caucus. His Assembly Bill 2943 would designate “conversion therapy” as consumer fraud in the Golden State. If the bill is adopted, then licensed professionals found to be offering what mainstream medical groups decry as junk science could be stripped of their license to practice in California, the Reporter reports.

In 2012, state leaders enacted legislation that banned mental health professionals from trying to alter the sexual orientation of LGBT youth 18 and younger. Low’s bill would effectively expand the ban to include adults, the article notes.

Zbur told the Reporter that despite the earlier legislation, which survived court challenges, there are adults in California being offered conversion therapy.

Low is also the lead author of Assembly Concurrent Resolution 172 that would offer an official apology for the state’s past discriminatory laws that oppressed and persecuted the LGBT community. The state’s mistreatment of its LGBT residents dates back centuries, the Reporter reports.

Low’s office has pointed to indecency statutes that allowed the police to harass and sometimes arrest people who were considered deviant or gender-bending. Also cited is a 1909 law that called for sterilizing those convicted and imprisoned for committing sodomy and oral sex acts.

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