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Conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth banned in Riviera Beach

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Riviera Beach is now the fifth city in Palm Beach County to ban conversion therapy for minors.

According to a release sent by Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, the city voted unanimously tonight to prohibit the therapy on minors within city limits of Riviera Beach.

The PBCHRC details its involvement in other cities in Palm Beach County, including West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, and Delray Beach.

PBCHRC reports that a licensed psychologist gave a statement to city council. Quoted in the release, Dr. Rachel Needle said, "First, it is based on the falsehood that being gay, lesbian or transgender is a mental disorder or defect that needs to be cured," Needle stated at the March 1 City Council Meeting. "And secondly, it is based on the presumption that being LGBTQ is something that can actually be changed through therapy."

The release says during the latest meeting, City Councilwomen Dawn Pardo and Tonya Davis Johnson brought the request forward back in March.

"As an elected official, it is a key part of my job to take steps to protect all of the children in the City of Riviera Beach from abuse," said Councilman Davis Johnson. "The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council and Dr. Needle presented numerous scientific studies for the City Council to review and of the experts all agree that conversion therapy is causes extreme emotional trauma to LGBT youth."

The ordinance was passed at the Riviera Beach City Council meeting Wednesday.

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