GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WGFL) -- Conversion therapy has been banned in Gainesville since late March, but now, Alachua County may be following suit.
Conversion therapy is the practice of trying to change someone's sexual orientation.
The American psychiatric association has opposed it since 1998.
“I’ll tell you, last year when someone came to my office and asked me ‘would you consider banning conversion therapy?' My first response was, is that still happening?” says County Commissioner Ken Cornell. “It was a shock to me.”
During a meeting Tuesday, County commissioners heard from speakers who say the therapy could do more harm than good.
“This is a practice which is harmful, unethical, ineffective and does a significant amount of harm to the children,” says Pastor and Family Therapist, Larry Green.
Joe Antonelli has been president of the Gainesville Community Alliance, a social club for the LGBTQIA+ community since 1991.
“It’s time, it’s 2019, it’s time,” says Antonelli. “What they are talking about today really is a barbarism, it really is backwards.”
Antonelli explains banning it would be a step forward in the right direction.
“This year is the 50th anniversary of what we know is the beginning of the gay pride movement,” says Antonelli. “It’s been 50 years already, and we’re still talking conversion therapy at a local commission.”
The date for public comment in the next County commission meeting is still unknown.