Children under 18 can no longer be placed into “gay conversion therapy” in Illinois. The legislation makes it illegal for mental health specialists to try to change the sexual orientation of minors. Mike Ziri, public policy director of Equality Illinois, says these practices have proven to be harmful. “These therapies are essentially saying that there’s something wrong with them, and we need to fix you,” Ziri said. “All the major mental health organizations at the state level and nationally have said that’s not true. There’s no science behind them.”
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Ziri says the ban is limited to people under the age of 18 because they were determined to be the most common targets of these therapies, and this provides protection from being placed in these programs against their will by their parents. Illinois is the fourth state to ban the practice for minors, along with Oregon, New Jersey, and California.