My name is Alec Fischer. Growing up as a gay male in Minnesota I have experienced many forms of discrimination due to my sexual orientation. I was bullied horrifically in middle school for being perceived as gay, and like many people who experience bullying, the problem got so bad that I attempted suicide.
Thankfully, when I got to high school, I was fortunate enough to come out to peers and family members who loved and accepted me for who I was. But we know this is not the case for many other youth who identify as LGBT in our state and across the country. That's why I want my state to take a stand for LGBT youth, and ban "ex-gay" conversion therapy.
Gay conversion therapy is a discredited practice in which youth are subjected to psychologically damaging "treatment" by psychologists and counselors who falsely claim they can "fix" the sexual orientation of children who identify as being LGBT.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) and every leading medical organization condemns conversion therapy. The APA claims it can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts among those who experience it. Specific symptoms acquired from patients post-conversion therapy have included:
Depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, disapointment, self-blame, loss of friends, and high risk sexual behaviors.
According to the CDC and the Trevor Project, lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. In a study conducted by San Francisco State University, researchers compared LGBT teens who were accepted by their families with LGBT teens who were rejected and met with hostility and anger by their families. They found that teens who weren't accepted were 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than teens who were accepted by their families. They also found that these teens were 6 times more likely to report high levels of depression, more than 3 times as likely to use illegal drugs, and were 3 times more likely to be at a high risk for HIV and other STDs.
Minnesota has gathered national attention due to Michele Bachmann's husband Marcus Bachmann. His counseling clinic "Bachmann & Associates" was exposed by national news outlets for offering gay conversion therapy as a method of "treatment" for LGBT citizens.
Currently, every state except for California and New Jersey allows conversion therapy to be performed on minors. Many states have recently introduced legislation to ban the harmful practice, including PA, FL, OH, and Washington DC.
Legislators in MN are already looking into addressing the problem of allowing conversion therapy as a "treatment option" for youth.
In order to successfully introduce legislation banning conversion therapy for minors in MN, public support and outreach towards MN Senators and Representatives is essential. Together we can spread awareness and create a movement to end ex-gay therapy in MN. Together we can show that we won't stand idly by and let our LGBT youth suffer from this unethical therapy. With your help we can show our lawmakers that we don't want to allow psychiatrists within our state to fix something that isn't broken.
Please sign my petition asking lawmakers to support legislation banning this harmful practice and help us make Minnesota a safer place for all children.