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Oregon Governor Has Ceremonial Signing For Conversion Therapy Bill

Gov. Kate Brown held a ceremonial signing Thursday for a bill to stop therapists from performing "conversion therapy" on minors.

Conversion therapy covers a wide range of treatments, aimed at changing a child’s sexual orientation.

Portland attorney Paul Southwick is attracted to men. But, he says, being part of the LGBTQ community was not accepted when he grew up in rural Oregon.

He internalized his feelings, but at 20, Southwick says he suffered a panic attack and told his family about his sexual orientation, who then pressured him into conversion therapy.

“In pretty much any community, when you come out about your sexuality and your family and your friends can see that you’re suffering, they will almost always respond with compassion," he said.

"But unfortunately compassion gets misdirected into conversion therapy. Because the hope is this child of mine, this friend is suffering, he’s full of anxiety, we want to get him some help,” Southwick said.

In 2001, the U.S. Surgeon General said, "There is no valid scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.”

<p>Oregon Gov. Kate Brown holds ceremonial signing of bill stopping conversion therapy on minors.</p>

Alan Sylvestre


Oregon Gov. Kate Brown holds ceremonial signing of bill stopping conversion therapy on minors.

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.