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Local leaders stress the importance of conversion therapy ban

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DULUTH,MN-- For those who people who've experienced it, conversion therapy can often leave a scar.

Mark Hayes says, "The thing that was supposed to help me, instead only added to my self-hatred. Being forced into the false narrative that I was flawed and needed to change."

This was just one of many statements made at Monday night's City Council meeting in support of a proposed conversion therapy ban.

City Councilor Gary Anderson is one of the people behind the proposal.

Anderson says, "Organizations like the American Association of Pediatrics and social work organizations, and medical practitioners have over and over again named that it's an ineffective and in many times harmful practice."

The proposed ban would make it illegal for licensed medical professionals to practice the therapy which would be punishable by a $200 fine.

Studies have shown conversion therapy is ineffective but the proposed ban might not be very effective either.

Anderson admits however, he doesn't know of any doctors in Duluth currently performing conversion therapy.

Religious groups would be exempt from the ban.

Anderson that's because the city can't legally stop them.

He says the main goal is to protect youth and show them they have support.

Gary "We hear stories and we talk to people who have shared these stories with us, that the practice is still being done and we just want to put a message out clearly to the professional community that this is not acceptable."

Local LGBTQ groups.. like Trans Plus.. also support banning conversion therapy calling it harmful, especially to young people.

Co-Founder of Trans Plus Sean Hayes says, "The ban and everything else we do for our community is so one day our youth, our kids, the next generation won't have an experience that myself and others experienced just for being who we are."

The council could vote on the measure during the next meeting on December 16th.

Emma Quinn

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