KENTUCKY — The city of Lexington has officially banned conversion therapy by licensed professionals on minors. But what is it, how often is it used and what’s the impact?
Lexington-Fayette Urban County councilmembers Liz Sheehan and Susan Lamb drafted the ordinance signed by Mayor Linda Gorton that makes conversion therapy for LGBTQ minors officially illegal in Lexington.
"We have lots of groups that supported this. We worked very hard to show the community support, like our private services, community, we had support from our Fayette County Public Schools. We had support from a lot of different organizations that work directly with LGBTQ population here, and particularly youth here, so I felt like individuals were supporting this but also larger organizations from these kind of support organizations, but also some of our faith community as well," explained Sheehan.
Under the ordinance, any state-certified provider is prohibited from offering any treatment that encourages a patient to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Pastors who do not have a state-certified license would not be covered by the local ban.
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission will investigate any complaints.
Lexington is believed to be the third city in Kentucky to ban conversion therapy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals under the age of 18.
Covington and Louisville passed similar local bans in 2020. Efforts to pass statewide legislation have failed repeatedly in recent years.
Also, the next time you stroll around Lexington, you might find a colorful surprise below your feet. The city recently cut the ribbon on updated rainbow crosswalks in honor of Pride month.
"We recognize that we are very inclusive and diverse city, and that we welcome everyone and our rainbow crosswalks are a very, very good point of that. Also our Pride festival each year, we of course couldn't have last yea, but we're going to have one this year in September, and it's amazing how many people come to Lexington to celebrate the pride month of June and because in their own communities, they are not accepted and so you know it's important. In Lexington, that we are the community that sets the example, to be accepting and loving and caring and compassionate to all people because that's, that's the type of community I want to live in," added Lamb.