LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Lawmakers say they want to make sure conversion therapy is not practiced on minors in Michigan, because of its known effects on their mental health.

Today, Democratic Senators are making recommendations in a committee hearing to ensure all people in Michigan’s LGBTQ+ community are safe from these tactics–specifically, that licensed professionals don’t use conversion tactics in their counseling.

“Conversion therapy” is the term for counseling and other methods used to “convert” a person’s sexual orientation or gender expression.

Conversion therapy is already somewhat illegal, but today’s meeting is discussing legislation that would protect children who consider themselves a part of the LGBTQ+ community from its use by licensed therapists in Michigan.

The language of the proposed legislation states that licensed therapists would be subject to losing their license if they attempt to coerce a minor out of their own gender expression or sexual orientation.

Some of the known effects of conversion therapy are depression, anxiety, drug use, and even suicide.

“LGBTQ youth have a much higher rate of suicidality. A much higher rate of depression and anxiety,  a much higher rate of homelessness,” said Joy Wolfe Ensor, a retired therapist.

The Trevor Project reported in May that 15% of LGBTQ youth in Michigan had been subjected to or threatened with conversion therapy in the past year.

“I’m a transgender woman…and when I came out 10 years ago, the world wasn’t accepting and affirming and inclusive as it is today,” said Emme Zanotti, Director of Advocacy & Civic Engagement with Equality Michigan.

“Despite what some of the political and media rhetoric has been around the LGBTQ community in the last couple of years, we know that the hearts and minds of people are changing, because they value their neighbors. They value their family members; they value their children,” Zanotti continued.

Zanotti says the bills should have bipartisan support, since other states have had success.

Conversion therapy for minors is banned in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

State Rep. Jason Hoskins (D-Southfield) said he’s the first Black and openly gay member of the Michigan legislature–and he wants Michigan to become the 22nd state to ban conversion therapy.

“Having the experts say this is a practice we should not have here in the state, I hope would help some of my colleagues who may have some hesitations about possibly banning it,” Hoskins said.

Opponents of the bill also spoke at the committee hearing.

They say the ban on conversion therapy would violate the rights of health care workers to perform what they call “gender-affirming care.”

“The pathway that this bill will foster, is essentially converting gay kids into transgender kids,” said Gregory S. Baylor, Director of the Center for Religious Schools and Senior Counsel for Government Affairs at Alliance Defending Freedom.