Governor Evers Signs Executive Order Blocking Use of State or Federal Money to Pay for Conversion Therapy for Minors in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wisconsin — Today, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed an Executive Order directing the Department of Health Services (DHS), the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the Department of Corrections (DOC) to ensure that no state or federal funds are used to pay for conversion therapy for minors.

The Executive Order cites research showing that youth who are subjected to conversion therapy are at a dramatically increased risk of suicide, depression, and other serious harms. The Executive Order also notes that “expert medical and expert medical associations and professional organizations oppose the practice of conversion therapy.”

“We applaud Governor Evers for taking this important step to protect LGBTQ minors from one of the most dangerous practices that any young person can undergo” said Mathew Shurka, a conversion therapy survivor and Co-Founder of Born Perfect, the national campaign to end conversion therapy. “This order ensures that taxpayer dollars cannot be used to pressure LGBTQ youth who are in foster care or juvenile detention in Wisconsin to change who they are. Many of these youth have already faced family rejection for being LGBTQ; they deserve safety and respect. No young person in state care should be sent to a therapist who subjects them further trauma and abuse.”

“This is a huge step forward for the health and safety of LBTQ young people in Wisconsin,” said Shannon Minter, the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which sponsors Born Perfect. “Wisconsin now joins the more than 20 states that have taken action to protect minors from the harm caused by conversion therapy. We hope that other governors will take note and enact similar measures to ensure that no state funds are being misused to pay for this deadly practice, which as been condemned by every leading medical and mental health professional organization in the country.”

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.