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D.C. Council Weighs Ban On Conversion Therapy For Minors

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The D.C. Council is considering a bill that would make it illegal to provide therapy aimed at changing the sexual orientation of anyone under the age of 18.

Sam Wolfe struggled with his sexuality growing up in conservative Utah. To stop feeling attracted to men, he sought out therapy.

"When I saw an ad in the school paper that said, if you suffer from same sex attraction, call this number and we'll help," Wolfe says.

It didn't help.

Wolfe now works for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which campaigns against what's known as conversion therapy. He testified at a D.C. Council hearing that the method is based on a false premise — that there's something wrong with people who are attracted to the same sex.

Also crowding into the council chambers: "ex-gay" men, like Chuck Peters.

"I would have killed myself if I had not gone to a licensed therapist," Peters says.

Peters says conversion therapy helped him overcome his attraction to men, and he says the bill, introduced by Council Member Mary Cheh, would deprive young people in D.C. of needed treatment.

According the American Psychological Association, there is "insufficient evidence" that sexual orientation can be changed through therapy, and it can lead to distress and depression.


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