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Green Bay not on the list of Wisconsin cities that have banned conversion therapy

Fourteen Wisconsin cities in total -- including Appleton and Sheboygan -- have ordinances that ban the controversial practice
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Posted at 9:51 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 23:13:06-04

GREEB BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — Just last week, the La Crosse common council voted in favor to ban conversion therapy for minors.

Conversion therapy is a controversial practice that attempts to change someone's sexual or gender identity, particularly those in the LGBTQ+ community.

Fourteen cities in total — including Appleton and Sheboygan — have ordinances that ban conversion therapy.

Green Bay is not included on the list.

"If there had been someone from the community that stepped up and said we got to do this, we would've jumped on that," Green Bay District 7 alderperson Randy Scannell said. "But that hasn't happened."

Scannell says he's had discussions with other alders in the past about banning the practice.

But he says the city council never moved forward with it, and then the pandemic got in the way.

"We had our plate full," Scannell said.

According to the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute, 698,000 American LGBTQ+ adults have received conversion therapy.

But UW-Green Bay Pride Center coordinator Nicole Kurth says the practice doesn't work.

"To tell somebody that they can be fixed when there's nothing wrong with them, that just has huge mental health implications and repercussions," Kurth said.

Kurth says the practice caused some people to take their own lives.

"The only people that say they're cured are the ones going along with the program," Kurth said.

Kurth says at the very least, the state should ban conversion therapy. But she says she would like to see it banned at the federal level.

"I've seen a lot of positive changes in Green Bay," Kurth said. "And I'm looking forward to seeing more."

Scannell says the issue is worth diving into.

"I think we're always looking forward to how we can be more open for everyone in our community," Scannell said.

And if it ever comes down to a vote, Scannell says he would vote in favor of banning the practice.

"A no-brainer for me," Scannell said.

Twenty states, including Illinois, have bans against conversion therapy.