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conversion therapy

Despite a ban in 22 Florida communities, conversion therapy is a widespread practice in Florida, according to activists. 

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Therapists in Tampa are once again able to conduct the controversial procedure known as conversion therapy after a federal judge struck down a city ban on it.

A Tampa federal magistrate has called for an end to a part of the city’s ban on conversion therapy, saying it infringes on the free speech rights of licensed mental health professionals.

Tony Lima was one of 30 Broward County residents at Tuesday’s commission meeting. The executive director of SAVE, he spoke against conversion therapy for minors – the controversial practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We need to be able to as a county send a strong message that we are inclusive, that we are loving, that we are protective of their authentic selves – above all,” Lima said.

Palm Beach County is the first county in Florida to ban conversion therapy for minors.

County commissioners voted 5-2 Tuesday to ban the controversial form of treatment that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation.

Opponents say the practice is pseudoscience dangerous to gay, lesbian and transgender youth. The American Psychiatric Association also opposes the practice and calls it unethical.

But supporters of conversion therapy argue the ban will infringe on free speech, religious freedom and parental rights.