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North Carolina Just Defunded Conversion Therapy on Minors

NC Governor Roy Cooper

Advocacy groups praised the Democratic governor's executive order as a critical step in the right direction.

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper has signed an executive order seeking to tackle conversion therapy

Gov. Roy Cooper, signed an executive order to barr the state health department from allowing public funds to pay for conversion therapy for minors on Friday. The move makes North Carolina the first Southern state to ban the use of state funds for "conversion therapy" for minors.

"It's gratifying to see Governor Cooper take this critical step in the right direction," Kendra R. Johnson of Equality NC said in a statement, "no child should be told that they must change their sexual orientation or gender identity; we're grateful that Gov. Cooper agrees. We are committed to ending this debunked practice and will work for statewide protections."

The executive order states that North Carolina is home to approximately 320,000 adults who identify as LGBTQ+. It also notes that nearly 700,000 LGBTQ+ adults in the U.S. have received conversion therapy and research has found that suicide rates for those individuals is double those whose parents have not attempted to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

"Conversion therapy has been shown to pose serious health risks, and we should be protecting all of our children, including those who identify as LGBTQ, instead of subjecting them to a dangerous practice," Cooper tweeted after signing the executive order.

North Carolina has had a checkered past when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, receiving national attention in 2013 following former governor Pat McCrory's signing of HB2, which required that people at a government-run facility use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate. After narrowly winning the 2016 election, Cooper and Republican legislatures reached a deal to partly repeal that bill.

Cooper's order comes less than two weeks after a federal judge in North Carolina approved a consent decree that allows transgender people's right to use restrooms that match their gender identities in North Carolina public buildings.

North Carolina joins 18 states, Puerto Rico, and D.C. in banning conversion therapy. Colorado became the 18th state yesterday.

RELATED | All the States Where Conversion Therapy on Minors is Banned

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