Racine City Council passed an ordinance to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy” on Tuesday, July 16. 

Racine marks the sixth city in Wisconsin to pass a law to protect LGBTQ youth from the harmful practice of “conversion therapy.” Last month, the Village of Shorewood joined Milwaukee, Madison, Eau Claire and Cadahy in passing similar legislation.

Across the country, a growing number of municipalities have also enacted these vital protections, including more than 50 cities and counties across not only Wisconsin but also Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington. 

The Badger State does not have statewide anti-conversion therapy protections, however, there is an effort to move legislation forward. Wisconsin state senators and representatives introduced a bill to address this harmful practice in March. 

"This is about saving lives and that is not a partisan issue," said bill co-sponsor HRC-backed Sen. Tim Carpenter.

California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico all currently have laws or regulations protecting youth from this harmful practice.

According to a recent report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, an estimated 20,000 LGBTQ minors in states without protections will be subjected to “conversion therapy” by a licensed health care professional if state officials fail to act. Last year, national organizations representing millions of licensed medical and mental health care professionals, educators and child welfare advocates declared their support for legislative protections against this debunked practice.

HRC has partnered with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the Trevor Project and local advocates in support of these vital protections. More information on the lies and dangers of efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity can be found here.

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