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Bill would ban conversion therapy in Kentucky

Posted at 4:42 PM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-14 19:39:43-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Zach Meiners came to Frankfort to let lawmakers know conversion therapy didn't work for him.

"I was going twice a week for four years," Meiners said in Frankfort Tuesday.

Conversion therapy is a controversial practice that tries to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity. If passed, Kentucky would be the 20th state to pass legislation limiting the practice. Supporters say the bill excludes pastors or other religious advisers.

The Louisville filmmaker said his conversion therapy encouraged self-harm 'when you have a gay thought.' Meiners said in the beginning, like his licensed practitioner and pastor, he wanted the therapy to work, but realized it led to depression and anxiety. The 30-year-old has now come to terms with who he is, a proud man who happens to be gay.

Meiners was in Frankfort at the capitol throwing his support to House Bill 199 and Senate Bill 85, a bi-partisan effort to ban mental health professionals in Kentucky from using conversion therapy with people under 18 or adults who can't make decisions for themselves.

Professionals who do practice conversion therapy on youth or adults under guardianship, could face disciplinary action. If the bill is signed into law, the legislation would also prohibit public funds from being used for it.