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Bill to ban conversion therapy in NYC named after Mike Pence

GayRVA Staff | November 22, 2016

An Erie, NY legislator has proposed a law that would ban conversion therapy in the county and they’re naming it after our new Vice President elect Mike Pence.

The “Prevention of Emotional Neglect and Childhood Endangerment,” or PENCE, was introduced by Patrick B. Burke (top image, left), a county legislator.

“I think it is an abusive practice. Some of the things that are actually carried out in conversion therapy are pretty disturbing,” stated Burke in an interview with Buffalo’s WBFO.

The American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association and many more national and international medical orgs have all come out against the practice which can involved electroshock treatment as well as emotional abuse.

Burke noted the connection to Pence saying he might be the most powerful VP in the history of the US.

He has openly advocated for conversion therapy. I want that to sink into people. I want them to realize it’s a serious issue of abuse of children flatly, whether they are gay or not, it’s abuse, then you have a man who is going to have enormous power over all of us, who advocates for it,” Burke said.

A June poll from earlier this year suggested conversation therapy was overwhelmingly frowned upon as well, with 64% of respondents saying it should be illegal.

Attempts to ban the practice on minors here in Virginia have stalled despite multiple recent attempts.

NYC’s Mathew Shurka, is an ex-gay therapy survivor who now travels the country advocating against the practice with his organization Born Perfect. He’s spoken at Virginia legislative hearings in the past – he also received the controversial treatment at a center near Charlottesville, Journey to Manhood .

He told GayRVA his 5 years of treatment involved “masturbation therapy” and doses of viagra to help stimulate him while looking at pictures of women.

The “treatment center” has since been sued through the  Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by the Southern Poverty Law CenterThe National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and  the Human Rights Campaign citing their practices as “deceptive, unfair and fraudulent.”

A bill hoping to address the issue in 2017 hasn’t been submitted to Virginia’s Legislative System yet, but GayRVA will let folks know if and when it happens.