Hazel Park becomes the latest town in Michigan to ban conversion therapy

Conversion therapy for minors was officially banned by Hazel Park City Council after a unanimous vote on Tuesday.

“This order banning conversion therapy embodies our continued commitment to the LGBTQ community, while protecting our children from dangerous and discredited practices that have no legitimate medical basis,” said Board Member Luke Londo, who presented the prescription and identifies as bisexual.

By passing the ban, Hazel Park becomes the sixth city in the state to have both a Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) and a conversion therapy ban. The city joins Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Ferndale, Huntington Woods and Royal Oak, all of which have HROs prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation, identity of gender and gender expression, as well as bans on conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy has been widely condemned by the medical community and has been documented by numerous studies to pose a significant risk of serious emotional and physical harm to young people who experience it. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Directive 2021-3 in June 2021, which requires the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to “take necessary action to prohibit the use of state and federal funds for the harmful practice of conversion therapy on minors.”

“From day one, I’ve made it clear that hate has no place in Michigan,” Whitmer said. at the time. “My administration is committed to removing the systemic barriers faced by young LGBTQ+ Michiganders so that our state is a place where they can reach their full potential.”

The Evolution of Hazel Park’s Commitment to Members of the LGBTQ+ Community

Hazel Park, along with nearby Ferndale and Royal Oak, well known as LGBTQ+ havens, has taken steps to truly open its arms to the LGBTQ+ community in recent years. The city adopted its HRO in April of Last year, sponsored by Londo and Councilmember Alissa Sullivan. The city hosted its first Pride in the Park celebration in 2019.

“Hazel Park has had an active and vibrant LGBTQ community for years,” Londo told Pride Source. “City Council has been very deliberate lately in seizing opportunities to recognize our LGBTQ residents, whether it’s raising the Pride flag each June, hosting a Pride event, or passing legislation to protect their civil rights.

“In fact, when I first mentioned wanting to pass a human rights ordinance last year, everyone was under the impression that we already had one,” Londo continued. “I was just codifying what was common practice – ensuring that our LGBTQ community was protected and celebrated.”

The ordinance still has to pass a second reading, which will take place at the Hazel Park town council meeting on March 8. Once adopted at second reading, it will enter into force later this month.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Luke Londo’s last name as Lonzo.

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