LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The rights of LGBTQ children are a topic at the State Capitol, as Michigan lawmakers introduce two new bills. One would stop mental health professionals from trying to “cure” them, the other would require children to play on the sports team of their biological gender.
“Plain and simple this is child abuse, it’s called conversion therapy but its’ wildly discredited by every mental health organization as damaging particularly to kids,” said State Senator Mallory McMorrow (D), sponsor for one of the senate bills.
McMorrow is working to protect LGBTQ children. She introduced legislation that would ban mental health professionals from participating in what’s called, conversion therapy. That’s the practice of attempting to change someone who identifies as LGBTQ to heterosexual.
“This is for the parents as well…that they are not unintentionally harming their child by trying to seek out therapy and support,” said McMorrow.
If passed mental health professionals who continue the practice would lose their license. This is the second time the bill was introduced but this time McMorrow says it has bi-partisan support.
Another bill takes aim at school sports. It would require students to play on teams of their biological gender, not the gender they identify with. Something Nicole Ellefson does not think is right.
“Think about how all children can be supported especially during the pandemic, and not to focus on denying the children the right to participate with their peers in sports,” said Ellefson, an LGBTQ mom.
Anita Calcagno from an LGBTQ support group for families says requiring children to play with their biological gender could deter some from taking the field.
“We want our children to join sports to be accepted by other children to form frienships with them, to learn how to participate and how to be part of a team,” said Calcagno
Both bills still have a long road ahead, as they await a hearing date in the senate.
6 news reached out to several local school districts, other lawmakers who sponsored the bill, and groups that encourage conversion therapy for comment but we did not get any response.