Minnesota becomes 21st state to protect youth from conversion therapy

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Ban conversion therapy word graphic on rainbow flag

Minnesota made history on April 27, 2023 when Gov. Tim Walz signed into law a bill prohibiting licensed therapists from subjecting minors to conversion therapy, a dangerous practice that seeks to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Minnesota is now the 21st state to prohibit conversion therapy.

Utah passed a similar bill earlier this year. Minnesota’s new law broadens and makes permanent a 2021 executive order by Governor Walz.

“Minnesota has shown again that statewide action can protect families from proven harm,”  Mathew Shurka, a conversion therapy survivor and Co-Founder of Born Perfect said. “Conversion therapy tore my own family apart when conversion therapists — as they so often do — taught me to blame my parents for my orientation. Minnesota’s new law recognizes that LGBTQ youth and their families are part of every community. We believe every child is born perfect.”

Born Perfect, a program launched by the National Center for Lesbian Rights in 2014, has tracked at least 44 licensed therapists in the state of Minnesota who have been engaging in this unethical and discredited practice. Conversion therapy survivors affiliated with Born Perfect testified in favor of the new law during Minnesota’s legislative hearings.

“Minnesota and Utah together show how rapidly public understanding of this issue is growing,” National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter said. “Across the country, legislators recognize that states and municipalities must protect vulnerable youth from this life-threatening harm. We are grateful to OutFront Minnesota and Governor Walz for their unwavering commitment to this issue, and to Minnesota lawmakers, especially Senator Scott Dibble, for their leadership.”

Conversion therapy has been rejected as unnecessary, ineffective, and harmful by every major medical and mental health organization in the country, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Minnesota’s new bill is a step towards Born Perfect’s goal of ending the practice across the country, indefinitely.