COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Conversion, or reparative, therapy has been a hot-button issue. The practice seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Two Ohio legislators are calling for that practice on children to stop in the Buckeye State.
State Representatives Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) and Debbie Philips (D-Albany) introduced HB 247, which would stop licensed professionals from practicing conversion therapy on children.
Jody Davis shared her experiences about conversion therapy and the impacts this therapy has had on her life.
“Coming out is a very liberating experience,” she said.
Davis can smile now, but it took her decades to accept herself and share her truth.
“A lot of people live with secrets so it’s great to blow the secrets out of the water,” she said. Today, Davis is open about being transgender and the turbulent times she faced growing up in Cincinnati.
“I was very encouraged (that) the only kind of person that God loves is a person who is straight and a person who identifies with the gender that their biological sex looks like.”
Jody dated in high school, went to college, and joined the Army National Guard, but something never felt right. In her early 20s, she tried reparative or conversion therapy to help her overcome her gender identity disorder. It is a process she says set her self-acceptance process back years.
She says it is important to ban this practice in Ohio. The ban proposed in HB 247 is already law or currently being discussed in 20 different states.
The medical community calls the therapy coercive and harmful. Ohio Psychological Association past president Dr. Jim Broyles says, “There’s absolutely no evidence at all that conversion therapy works or produces any kinds of effects. There is no evidence that treatment or intervention in childhood can affect an adult’s sexual orientation.”
There are licensed professionals who do say conversion therapy does work. They say the process identifies the root cause of these feelings and seeks to resolve them.
Lawmakers tell NBC4 there are three licensed professionals in Ohio currently practicing conversion therapy.