More than 700,000 LGBTQ people have been victims of conversion therapy, and it is predicted that about 80,000 LGBTQ youth will be subjected to it in the future. This therapy of using traumatizing techniques to change one’s sexual orientation or gender identity has been discredited, as it has been proven to be harmful and unsuccessful.

Our LGBTQ youth in Beloit do not have policies or legal barriers established to help protect them. Under the stress of instability that could result from their identities, LGBTQ youth have higher rates of suicide attempts, substance abuse, and isolation. The teen homelessness rates are increasing from over 500 youth with 164 unaccompanied, of which about 40% are LGBTQ.

Different LGBTQ rights groups and allies have asked the City of Beloit to ban conversion therapy, resulting in some uncertainty from the city council about what authority they have in this matter. Therefore, the next step would be to address the school board to consider conversion therapy as an unethical and abusive treatment in their policies. This would add it to the list of mandated reporting and would help protect our city LGBTQ youth.

Angie McBride