MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis and St. Paul officials announced new proposed city ordinances that would ban conversion therapy for minors in the Twin Cities Friday.
Conversion therapy is the controversial practice of attempting to change one’s gender identity or sexual orientation through psychological or spiritual means. While a proposed ban on conversion therapy for minors failed to pass at the state level last legislative session, local officials hope banning the practice could protect LGBTQ youth.
Local officials, religious leaders and other community members, along with advocacy group OutFront Minnesota, held a small rally in support of the ordinance at the Lake Street-Marshall Avenue Bridge in St. Paul Friday, which also marked National Coming Out Day.
Wil Sampson-Bergstrom, an elder at Apple Valley Community of Christ, spoke about his experience in conversion therapy.
“The long term effects let me with depression, anxiety, PTSD and suicidal ideation. These interfere with my everyday life. Imagine living your life after being told you were living a sin,” he said.
St. Paul Ward 4 City Council Member Nelson urged local officials to take action on enacting bans on conversion therapy for minors.
“It’s incumbent on us to take the action so we can to end what I really believe is just psycoligical abuse and violence against our queer community,” Nelson said.
Minneapolis City Council Members Phillipe Cunningham and Andrea Jenkins officially brought forward a proposed ordinance at the rally.
“This became an interest of mine as an elected official after watching this legislation be carried through at the state Capitol,” Cunningham said.
OutFront Minnesota Executive Director Monica Meyer said at the rally the organization would continue to push such policy at a state level.