Louisville Bans Conversion Therapy

Louisville, Kentucky, Leaders Vote to Ban Harmful Conversion Therapy

Louisville Bans Conversion Therapy

Conversion therapy survivors cheered Thursday night as Louisville Metro Council voted __ to approve an ordinance banning conversion therapy.

Kentucky’s largest city became the second city in Kentucky, after Covington, to ban the harmful practice. The ordinance prohibits licensed mental-health providers from using sexual orientation or gender identity change efforts with minors. It also prevents provision of public funds to any entity that provides “conversion therapy” to a minor.

Separate bipartisan legislation is pending to ban conversion therapy statewide.

During committee proceedings last week, Councilman Bill Hollander said the ban was necessary because conversion therapy causes increased rates of depression, substance abuse, and suicide. “In this National Suicide Prevention Month, surely we can agree to join states and cities across the country in banning a practice that doesn’t work and leads to higher suicide rates for children,” Hollander said.

The campaign to ban conversion therapy was led by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, the Fairness Campaign, and the survivor-led group Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky (BCTK). BCTK in particular has achieved phenomenal success in uniting conservative Kentuckians in support of protecting LGBTQ youth.

Kentucky Survivors Show Leadership

Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky staff and supporters
Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky staff and supporters

“We are encouraged that Kentucky’s largest and most diverse city stepped up in a bipartisan way to protect Kentucky’s kids, said Tanner Mobley, executive director of BCTK. “It is our hope, a hope shared by thousands of Kentuckians from every corner and holler in our state, that our state legislature will do the same in passing the Youth Mental Health Protection Act during the 2021 Session and protect every Kentucky family by finally putting an end to these torturous and fraudulent practices for good.”

State Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, a Republican from Fayette, is the primary sponsor of the state senate bill. Kerr said, “In my Christian faith, I am taught that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, wonderfully made, and I believe that very strongly. Pro-life means doing everything I can to protect our youth from suicide and from being rejected and being taught that they are not good enough. I’m inspired by this win in Louisville and feel hopeful that we can ban these torturous practices state-wide in 2021.”

“With so much strife in our community, so much pain in our city, tonight our Metro Council took a bold step toward love and compassion by banning the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion ‘therapy.’ This move by Kentucky’s largest and most diverse city is an important step toward a much-needed state-wide ban to protect young people across the Commonwealth,” stated Rep. Lisa Willner, D-Jefferson.

Youth Deserve Protection

Louisville councilman-elect Jecorey Arthur also spoke in support of the bill via Instagram.

“We need to ban conversion therapy,” Arthur said. “And today Louisville Metro Council is voting to do just that…Louisville needs to catch up. Because our youth not only deserve to live. But they deserve to be, and be with, who they love.”

Survivors Offer Support from Across the Nation

“We’re grateful to the Louisville Metro Council,” said Mathew Shurka, conversion therapy survivor and co-founder of Born Perfect, the national survivor-led campaign to ban conversion therapy. “Their vote sends a powerful message to every child that they are born perfect.” Shurka reflected on the experiences of survivors which have necessitated such bans.

“As a survivor of conversion therapy, I know first-hand that attempts by a therapist to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity result in serious, lasting harms. Like many other young people, I believed the professional therapists who told me I could change my sexual orientation and become straight. But after five years of doing everything I could to change, I was plunged into depression and despair upon realizing that these ‘therapies’ were bogus and that I could not change.”

Recovery from Conversion Therapy Can Take Years

“I will never be able to recover the time that I spent in this bogus therapy,” Shurka said. “It prevented me for years from living as my true self and robbed me of years that I will never regain. Conversion therapy also nearly destroyed my family. It drove a wedge between me and my parents and siblings, based on my therapists’ false assertion that being gay is caused by problems or deficiencies in parenting.”

There is absolutely no scientific basis for that assertion, which underlies almost all conversion therapy.

“The Louisville Metro Council is showing much-needed courage and leadership in standing up for LGBTQ youth. Hate-based groups in Northern Kentucky have waged vicious attacks and promoted dangerous lies and misinformation about LGBTQ people,” said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which provides legal support to U.S. states and cities in implementing and defending conversion therapy bans. “Contrary to the false messages of these groups, being LGBTQ is a natural part of the spectrum of human identity. All children deserve love and support, not shame, and Louisville is doing the right thing in protecting people from so-called ‘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).

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).

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).

Michigan State Flag

Two Michigan Cities Ban Conversion Therapy

Michigan State Flag
Michigan State Flag

Royal Oak, Michigan, city commission voted this week to ban conversion therapy on minors, just weeks after the neighboring community of Madison Heights. The two cities are the fifth and sixth in Michigan to ban the harmful and discredited practice.

“We’re going to do everything within our power to protect our residents,” City Commissioner Kyle DuBuc said in the Royal Oak Tribune.

Madison Heights City Council voted July 27 to ban conversion therapy for minors, according to Madison-Park News.

“I just want to protect youths from any coercive influences that might interfere with them finding themselves in a free and healthy manner,” said Madison Heights City Councilman David Soltis. “This is narrowly tailored to prevent this clinical practice, but it’s not meant to interfere with the beliefs of faith communities. It just protects the youth, allowing them to decide what kind of therapies they want and making that decision on their own. It’s protecting the individual minor.”


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

West St. Paul, Minnesota, Considers Banning Conversion Therapy

OutFront Minnesota
OutFront Minnesota

The West St. Paul, Minnesota, City Council has approved the first reading of a proposed conversion-therapy ban. The proposal awaits a second reading and public hearing, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

While Minnesota has no state ban, four other cities in the state have banned conversion therapy for 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).

Alaska pride flag

Anchorage, Alaska, to Consider Conversion-Therapy Ban

Alaska pride flag
(Creative Commons photo by Mel Green)

The city council of Anchorage, Alaska, will hold a public hearing on a proposed law to protect minors from conversion therapy on Aug. 11.

Born Perfect is organizing with survivors to testify in support of the ban. 

To join us in testimony, or learn how you might testify in the future, please contact Born Perfect:

    Please reach out to us.


    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).