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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 22, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 12
We're not broken - don't 'fix' us!
Section One
ALL STORIES
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We're not broken - don't 'fix' us!

NJ teen leads effort to ban 'conversion' therapy on minors

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Earlier this week, New Jersey teen Jacob Rudolph, whose Change.org petition has amassed more than 110,000 signatures urging Gov. Chris Christie to support pending legislation that would ban the use of controversial Gay 'conversion' therapy on minors, testified in Trenton in support of the bill.

Rudolph, an 18-year-old senior at Parsippany High School in Parsippany, N.J., launched his petition on Change.org after recently coming out as Gay at a school assembly.

On March 18, he told the New Jersey Senate Committee on Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens that LGBT teens are not 'broken' and don't need to be 'fixed' by therapy.

'Perhaps the most cruel part of anti-Gay conversion therapy is that these young people cannot even defend themselves from being subjected to this harmful practice,' testified Rudolph. 'I am not broken. I am not confused. I do not need to be 'fixed.' And as of this moment, more than 110,000 people from around the country have signed my petition, affirming that it's time for the New Jersey legislature and Governor Christie to protect kids from this dangerous practice.'

OVERWHELMING YES VOTE
Rudolph traveled to Trenton with Garden State Equality, New Jersey's largest civil rights organization, to address the committee. Following Rudolph's testimony, the committee voted 7-1 (with two abstaining) in support of S.2278, which would make it illegal to practice controversial Gay 'conversion' therapy on minors in the state of New Jersey. Having garnered overwhelming committee approval, the bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

'I'm thrilled that the New Jersey legislature is moving quickly to ban the use of anti-Gay 'conversion' therapy on minors, and I'm incredibly proud that my story and my petition have helped give a voice to the young people harmed by this dangerous practice,' said Rudolph. 'More than 110,000 voices have joined my campaign to protect New Jersey kids. The legislature is doing its part, and now we need Governor Christie to stand up and be a leader. The cost of silence is too great when we're dealing with young people's lives.'

New signatures on Rudolph's petition are sent via e-mail to Gov. Christie, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, and Christie's press secretary, Michael Drewniak. Christie has yet to comment on whether or not he will support the bill, which is co-sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney.

RAISES SUICIDE RISK
In his petition, Rudolph notes that most major psychological, psychiatric, and counseling associations have found Gay 'conversion' therapy to be scientifically unsound and harmful for young people.

The American Psychiatric Association has concluded that people subjected to anti-Gay 'conversion' therapy are at a much greater risk for depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior. His petition also cites statistics from the CDC and The Trevor Project stating that LGB youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. That number doubles to eight times more likely for LGB youth who come from families that reject the child's sexual orientation.

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