Minneapolis has unanimously voted to pass (VERIFY) a new city ordinance protecting youth from conversion therapy, a dangerous and discredited practice claiming to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Advocates hope the ordinance will both end the use of conversion therapy on minors in the city and encourage state lawmakers to take action to end the practice statewide.
“We are really trying to make sure that people are not being abused by harmful, quasi-therapeutic practices,” said one of the ordinance’s sponsors, Andrea Jenkins, vice president of the Minneapolis City Council and the first openly transgender black woman elected to public office in the United States.
Monica Meyer, executive director of the statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization, OutFront Minnesota, said there are therapists in the Twin Cities who continue the harmful practice.
“It’s actually like snake oil of the olden days, having people put leeches on to get rid of any kind of infection. What we want to say is that this is a practice that does harm, that it’s actually fraud and it needs to end,” said Meyer.
Troy Stevenson, Advocacy Campaign Manager for The Trevor Project, presented groundbreaking data from the 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Mental Health to the City Council at a meeting on Monday.
The Trevor Project’s recently released 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Mental Health found that five percent of LGBTQ youth reported being subjected to conversion therapy. Of those five percent, 42 percent reported a suicide attempt in the past year, more than twice the rate of their peers who did not report experiencing conversion therapy.
Minneapolis has long been a leader on LGBTQ rights and it is our great hope that their bold action on protecting youth will lead to those same protections being passed by the state legislature in 2020.