New Bill Seeks Partial Ban of Conversion Therapy in Oklahoma

Freedom Oklahoma Action Fund – HB 2455 modifies '“protected class” to include LGBT Oklahomans. HB 2456 bans the practice of conversion therapy on minors by mental health professionals.

Dear friends, 

Legislative session is always a stressful time for our community. Year after year we are asked to fight against discriminatory and hateful legislation that threatens our safety, livelihood, and access to basic services. This year, we are so pleased to announce that we have two bills we can fight FOR. 

Freedom Oklahoma applauds Representative Jason Dunnington for filing two important bills for consideration by the Oklahoma Legislature during the 2019 legislative session that impact our LGBTQ community. 

HB 2455 modifies current protected classes to INCLUDE LGBT Oklahomans. 

This bill extends nondiscrimination protections to our community by adding language to the current statutes that ban discrimination in employment, housing, and access to services, facilities, public accommodations, etc. based on “sex or gender, which shall include assumptions and stereotypes associated with sex-based considerations”. 

As Oklahomans, we pride ourselves in being good people who treat others fairly and equally. Many good people wrongly believe that nondiscrimination protections already exist for all Oklahomans. HB2456 will assure that LGBTQ Oklahomans have the same protections as all other citizens of this state.

How can you help? Join us in calling for our representatives to protect all Oklahomans equally. Talk to your friends, family, and representatives about the importance of giving all Oklahomans the same opportunities and freedoms by supporting the nondiscrimination protections that are defined by HB2455. 

HB 2456, the “Youth Mental Health Protection Act”, bans the provision of conversion therapy to any person under eighteen (18) years of age by state healthcare and mental health providers. 

Exposure to conversion therapy can be extremely dangerous and, in some cases, fatal. Minors are especially vulnerable to the dangers of conversion therapy, which has been proven to lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, high-risk sexual behaviors, loss of faith, self-harm and suicide. Because of this, the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, American College of Physicians, American Counseling Association, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American School Counselor Association, American School Health Association, National Association of Social Workers, and others, have published statements opposing the use of conversion therapy for the treatment of minors. 
We know that all Oklahomans want to protect our children from harm so that they can grow and thrive as individuals and citizens of our state. A ban on conversion therapy practices that target minors will protect our youth and help us achieve this common goal. We look forward to serving as a resource to our representatives and working with them to end the harmful practice of conversion therapy targeting Oklahoma youth. 

How can you help? This bill is the result of many months of community organizing and outreach, and organizing and outreach remain critical to its passage. Please join us in calling for our legislature to support HB2456, and talk to your friends and family about the reality of conversion therapy and the urgent need to protect our youth. 

We at Freedom Oklahoma are optimistic about the passage of both of these bills because we know first hand the power of our collective voices. Join us in standing in strong support of HB2455 and HB2456. Call your representative and talk to your family, friends, and colleagues about the need for this legislation. Encourage everyone to stand with us in our fight for a fair and just Oklahoma.

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