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Whitmer signs order to prohibit state, federal funds from being used for conversion therapy

Gov. Whitmer plans to ensure that taxpayer funding is only used for research-based medical and mental health practices.

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Whitmer signed an executive directive Monday that prohibits the use of state and federal funding for conversion therapy on minors. The directive also calls upon agencies to find ways to further protect children from conversion therapy.

Gov. Whitmer was joined by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and medical professionals in support of the directive.

"Since day one, I have made it clear that hate has no home in Michigan,” said Gov. Whitmer. “My administration is committed to addressing the systemic barriers faced by young LGBTQ+ Michiganders so that our state is a place where they are able to reach their full potential. The actions we take today will serve as a starting point in protecting our LGBTQ+ youth from the damaging practice of conversion therapy and in ensuring that Michigan is a reflection of true inclusion.” 

Conversion therapy is a practice that attempts to change a person's gender identity or sexuality. It has been criticized by multiple health associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. As of 2021, 20 states have banned the practice.

"As a pediatrician who works with LGBTQ+ adolescents, I have seen how patients thrive when they are able to be themselves and when their identities are supported,” said Dr. Maureen Connolly, a pediatrician in Detroit who specializes in adolescent medicine and caring for the LGBTQ+ community. “Conversion therapy is the exact opposite of what young people need and has been shown to have long-lasting negative effects including depression, self-harm and decreased self-esteem. I am grateful for this executive action and I know it will have a positive impact on the health of young people across Michigan.”

Gov. Whitmer plans to ensure that taxpayer funding is only used for research-based medical and mental health practices. She has also asked the Michigan legislature to draft a ban on conversion therapy.

The full executive directive can be read here.

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