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Red Wing bans conversion therapy, Rochester asks state to do the same

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RED WING, Minn. (KTTC) -- Minnesota is one of 29 states and 4 territories with no state law or policy in place banning the practice of conversion therapy on LQBTQIA+ minors.

According to dictionary.com, "Conversion therapy refers to the widely discredited practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity."

Monday, the Red Wing City Council passed an ordinance banning the practice in the city.

"We all wanted to show support and commitment to the health and safety of everyone in the community including our LGBTQ young people," said mayor Sean Dowse.

Dowse says that there were a plethora of youth and other advocates in the city that came out to support the decision, as well as those against banning it.

"I think it became very clear that there was overwhelming evidence provided over the years from research that conversion therapy for minors is a dangerous practice that leaves permanent and mental scars for those forced to undergo those measures and often leads to depression, anxiety, and suicide," said Dowse.

He went on to say that the city couldn't sit idly by until a statewide ban might go into effect.

"Red Wing did not want to wait for the state to take action or wait for other cities," says Dowse. "The council felt that it should not be afraid to pass its own ban."

Rochester has passed its own resolution against the practice.

"We agree that this is a barbaric practice that is absolutely wrong and we should not be doing it," says council member Michael Wojcik. "We've expressed that the levels of government that have the authority to make the change absolutely need to do so."

The city is hoping that the state is able to pass a bill when the legislature is back in session and cited the same reasons of no medical value behind the practice.

"This is something that the state needs to take action on. A lot of places have banned conversion therapy. Basically every reputable group in the world when it comes to medicine or mental health strongly recommends against this practice," said Wojcik. "There's absolutely no medical value to it and there's a lot of harm done by it so it's just a matter of I think policy catching up with where the science is at."

Zach Fuller

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