Flag of Anchorage, Alaska

Alaska Wins Its First Conversion Therapy Ban

Anchorage becomes the first city in the Frontier State to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy

Flag of Anchorage, Alaska
(Credit: Videohive/Envato)

After testimony from 62 individuals that spanned two days and lasted late into the evening of August 26, the Anchorage Assembly voted 9-2 to ban conversion therapy for minors. The ban protects the city of almost 300,000, and its LGBTQ youth, from an abusive and harmful practice.

One survivor, Levi Foster, an Anchorage native now living in New York, ran away from home at the age of 16 in order to escape conversion therapy. Levi shared his story with the Anchorage Assembly, urging them to protect other young people from the harm that he experienced and that shattered his family.

Born Perfect co-founder Mathew Shurka also testified before the Assembly, recalling his five years of conversion therapy and the resulting trauma to himself and his parents.

“We want to protect families from being misinformed,” Shurka told the Anchorage Daily News. Conversion therapy is based on the myth that being LGBTQ is caused by bad parenting or childhood abuse, and conversion therapists often drive a wedge between LGBTQ children and their parents. “For LGBTQ youth who are subjected to conversion therapy, the biggest issue is shame, self-harm and suicide,” Shurka said.

Anchorage is now one of nearly 80 cities to pass such laws. In addition, 20 states and the District of Columbia have passed statewide laws that prevent therapists from performing conversion therapy on minors.


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Cured Documentary

CURED Documentary Film Premieres at OutFest Los Angeles

CURED Documentary premiered Aug. 24 at the 2020 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival. The film began streaming at 12:01 a.m. PT for 72 hours. The presentation is accompanied by a panel discussion moderated by Pose FX co-creator Steven Canals and featuring filmmakers Bennett Singer and Patrick Sammon along with activists Don Kilhefner and Rev. Magora Kennedy.
 
Born Perfect is proud to support this film, and we were deeply touched by its portrayal of our past. Our co-founder Mathew Shurka told the Gay Times, “Cured is not just a brilliantly told story, it is a call to honor our legacy of activism and empowerment by continuing the fight to end conversion therapy once and for all.”


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Muslim woman participates in pride festival / Shutterstock

Muslim Survivor Seeks Broad Ban against Conversion Therapy

Muslim woman participates in pride festival / Shutterstock
Muslim woman participates in pride festival (Credit: Shutterstock)

Like their conservative Christian counterparts, some conservative Muslims are known to use a form of exorcism as conversion therapy.

Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Faith Matters and Muslims Against Antisemitism, shares with Pink News the experience of Khalid, who was pressured by his family to submit to shaming prayers and aversion therapy with the help of an Islamic spiritual guide who had no therapeutic credentials.

Khalid would scold himself for his overwhelming “evil urges”, swear at himself for being so weak and punch himself as though he needed to be physically shocked out of the feelings.

“It is time that this form of Muslim conversion therapy is highlighted and that anyone who comes across such actions by these so-called holy men report them into the police or to local authorities when a ban comes into place,” Khalid said.

“So many lives have been affected by money-grabbing sessions that cannot change the sexuality of someone and which cause, in some instances, serious emotional disturbances.”

Khalid and Mughal support a broad ban against licensed and unlicensed conversion therapy.


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

TikTok Users Mike Dorn and Merry Skelton

Conversion-Therapy Survivors Form TikTok Community

TikTok users Mike Dorn and Merry Skelton
TikTok users Mike Dorn and Merry Skelton

Every week, Mike Dorn and Merry Skelton pour their hearts out on TikTok, sharing the harm of conversion therapy and family rejection, and inspiring fellow survivors with advice and personal support.

They aren’t alone. Hundreds of conversion-therapy survivors and thousands of caring supporters have formed a vibrant community on TikTok, the video-sharing social networking service, gathering more than 10 million views under the hashtags #conversiontherapy and #conversiontherapysurvivor.

“It’s very difficult for young people who are being put into conversion therapy, or threatened with conversion therapy, to reach out to anybody,” said Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Dorn believes that collective experience-sharing is essential to educating parents and convincing the public that conversion therapy must be banned.


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

OutFront Minnesota

Two Minnesota Cities Ban Conversion Therapy in One Week

OutFront Minnesota
OutFront Minnesota

The Winona and West St. Paul, Minnesota city councils voted this week to ban conversion therapy. They became the fifth and sixth cities in Minnesota to ban the harmful practice.

Winona City Council’s vote was unanimous according to the Winona Post. Winona State University’s Counselor Education Department and Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center joined local activists and the city’s Human Rights Commission in advocating for the ban.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Tyler Treptow-Bowman, a local activist who has advocated for a ban since May 2019. “[I’m feeling] a lot of relief to see that all of our work over the past year has come to fruition, and that we’ve seen some change happen and some significant change.”

In West St. Paul, the vote was 5-1, according to the West St. Paul Reader. Fourteen people offered public comments this week in support of the ordinance. No one spoke in opposition.

“I am a product of conversion therapy, and it did not work,” said one survivor, Kimetha “KaeJae” Johnson. “I suffered as a child. I had to go through horrific, horrific, horrific brain washing to make sure I didn’t identify as a bisexual. I’m telling you that is torture. I am pleading, pleading with you to pass this ban tonight.”


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky

Former Conversion-Therapy Advocates Call for Kentucky Ban

Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky
Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky

This week, Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky gained a powerful new ally: 24 former conversion therapy advocates, who later repudiated conversion therapy, admitted that their sexual orientation and gender identity never changed, and now call for Kentucky to protect youth by banning this abusive and fraudulent practice.

Michael Bussee leads the Former Ex-gay Leaders Alliance, an alliance of former conversion therapists who now seek to end the practice.  

The Alliance explained their journey from practicing conversion therapy to recognizing its harms in a powerful op-ed this week for the Frankfort State-Journal:

“Together, we represent more than half a century of experience, so few people are more knowledgeable about the ineffectiveness and harm of conversion therapy. We know first-hand the terrible emotional and spiritual damage it can cause, especially for LGBTQ youth.

“We once believed that there was something morally wrong and psychologically “broken” about being LGBTQ. We know better now. We once believed that sexual orientation or gender identity were somehow chosen or could be changed. We know better now. We once thought it was impossible to embrace our sexual orientation or sexual identity as an intrinsic, healthy part of who we are and who we were created to be. We know better now. …

“As former ‘ex-gay’ leaders, having witnessed the incredible harm done to those who attempted to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, we join together in calling for Kentucky to ban conversion therapy. We can’t take back the harm that we caused, but we want to prevent future damage. The bills proposed by Senator Alice Forgy Kerr and Representative Lisa Willner strike the right balance of protecting LGBTQ youth and individual freedom by appropriately regulating the conduct of licensed mental health professionals and protecting public funds from misuse. It is our firm belief that it is much more productive to support, counsel, and mentor LGBTQ individuals to embrace who they are in order to live happy, well-adjusted lives.”


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).