Lakewood City Council Proposes Ordinance Banning Conversion Therapy on LGBTQ+ Youth


1 comment
  • Scene Archives
File this one under "How was this not already a thing?"

Lakewood Ward 4 City Councilman, Daniel J. O'Malley, introduced an ordinance banning conversion therapy in minors. For those unaware, conversion therapy is a pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation from LGBTQ+ to heterosexual or cisgender using psychological or spiritual interventions.

"We've seen some really tragic examples of how conversion therapy has impacted LGBT youth," O'Malley told "There was a very sad story out of Cincinnati a few years ago where a transgender girl committed suicide. One of her last things she was able to convey was that she was in conversion therapy."

O'Malley was referencing to the death of Leelah Alcorn, whose suicide in 2014 sparked national outrage as Alcorn arranged for her suicide note to be posted on her blog several hours after her death. Petitions were formed calling for the establishment of "Leelah's Law", a ban on conversion therapy in the U.S., which received a supportive response from U.S. President Barack Obama. Cincinnati has since criminalized conversion therapy.

Despite the overwhelming amount of factual evidence showing that conversion therapy is ineffective as well as its condemnation from the American Psychological Association, it's a practice still supported by people like Trump's Vice President, Mike Pence.

O'Malley noted that the response to the conversion therapy ban has been positive, with many Lakewood residents unaware that Ohio therapists were even practicing the psychological torture moonlighting as "therapy."

"I'm not aware of any who are practicing in Lakewood; however, we want to send a very clear message that this activity would not be welcome here," O'Malley told "In fact, it would be illegal if this ordinance passes."

For those who still don't understand, science recognizes that being LGBTQ+ is a part of the natural spectrum of human identity and is not classified as a disease, disorder or illness.

Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Maryland and Washington all have statewide bans against conversion therapy. Ohio does not have a statewide ban, but some municipalities are passing legislation to protect their communities. Lakewood is hoping to be the next one.

O'Malley expects a hearing in the next month or so, and expects the ordinance to pass as he believes it to be in line with the city's 2016 comprehensive non-discrimination LGBTQ+ ordinance.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.