DENVER – Two LGBTQ bills will be signed by Gov. Jared Polis on May 31: A law that stipulates Colorado residents may update the gender on their birth certificate without the need for surgery, and a bill that bans controversial conversion therapy for minors.
Democrats tried several times to pass a bill that outlawed therapy and counseling meant to dissuade young persons from changing sexual orientation. The conversion therapy bill did well enough in the latest legislative session to become law.
The process to disallow conversion therapy has been slow. According to the American Psychiatric Association and other leading psychologists, subjecting young children to untested or scientifically unauthorized forms of therapy or treatment could cause significant mental or physical harm. It undermines the self-esteem of adolescents who are coming into their own as individuals.
Only 14 states have banned conversion therapy, which is “based on the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder” or assumes that the patient “should change his or her homosexual orientation” prior to adulthood.
“Jude’s Law”, the new law that will allow people to change identity without needing surgery or court approval, was aimed at streamlining the process for transgender individuals interested in updating their birth certificates to reflect their preferred gender designation. The old law allowed for amended birth certificates only.
Colorado Department of Revenue previously allowed individuals who do not identify as male or female to designate themselves as “X” gender when applying for their driver’s license. Proponents of this new law praise these measures as “an important step” in helping legitimize individuals with gender identity issues, and believe it will curb discriminatory acts against non-binary and transgender individuals.
House Bill 19-1039 was initially sponsored by Sen. Dominick Moreno (D-Adams County) and Rep. Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo), making it through the House Health & Insurance Committee back in February.