California official calls conversion therapy “emotional torture”

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom July 27 at the Democratic National Convention. Photo: Paige Cooperstein, Philadelphia Gay News

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced his state Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention as “proudly pro-lesbian, pro-gay, pro-bisexual and pro-transgender.”

“At our best, we don’t tolerate our diversity, we celebrate our diversity,” he said.

Newsom spent much of the rest of his brief address hammering Mike Pence, the Republican nominee for vice president, calling him “the most anti-LGBT governor.”

In Indiana, Pence signed into law a religious freedom law that created space for people to discriminate against the LGBT community. As a Congressman, he also proposed diverting Ryan White Act funding, intended for HIV/AIDS services, to institutions that seek to change a person’s sexual behavior. The process is commonly called conversion therapy and has been widely discredited by health professionals.

“It was refreshing to see the first openly gay man speak at the Republican National Convention,” Newsom said. “But it doesn’t remove the stain of selecting Mike Pence as vice president.”

He called conversion therapy “emotional torture,” that tells young people they have to live a lie to survive.

Of Democrats, Newsom said, “We believe you can be whoever you are and whatever you want to be. That’s what makes America great.”


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