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 a survivor-led program created by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in 2014 to end conversion therapy by passing laws across the country that protect LGBTQ children and young people, fighting in courtrooms to ensure their safety, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by these dangerous practices. https://bornperfect.org