Officially classified as a form of torture by the United Nations, conversion “therapy” is a practice that adheres to the misguided and false belief that sexual orientation is a mental illness that can be changed with “therapeutic” practices. Included in these practices are trauma-inducing tactics that have a long history of causing extreme and long-lasting psychological distress among youth. Upwards of 42% of young people who attend a conversion “therapy” program make an attempt on their life.
Last year, the Senate DFL tried to pass a ban on this harmful practice after the legislation had been passed through the House. Every single Republican in the Senate voted against the ban even after some spoke up in support of it. As a response to the Legislature’s inaction, the cities of Minneapolis and Duluth issued citywide bans. Even historically conservative states such as Utah have passed this common-sense legislation to end conversion “therapy”, so Minnesota should not continue to delay.
Every day, LGBTQ+ youth are exposed to and suffer from this regressive and discredited practice. Although the legislative focus has currently shifted to COVID-19, it’s of the utmost importance for the Minnesota Senate to stand up and pass legislation to end conversion “therapy” in the following legislative session. It is time to take a stand and say that legal torture disguised as medical treatment has no place in modern society.