Letter to editor stock photo blue paper and pen

Over the last several months I have been working with OutFront Minnesota to finally ban conversion "therapy" in Minnesota.

Conversion "therapy" is a torturous practice that aims to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. This leads to serious harm, mostly in our young people, like depression, suicide, abuse of substances and PTSD. I've been standing arm-in-arm with conversion therapy survivors, faith leaders, doctors, and mental health practitioners to make sure our lawmakers put an end to this practice and protect LGBTQ Minnesotans.

I would like to ask your readers to contact your local lawmaker and consider the following: Every major medical association has denounced conversion therapy, including the American Academy of Pediatrics. Conversion “therapy” is largely ineffective and leads to serious harm.

As a licensed drug/alcohol therapist, I have seen firsthand the damage done to those who were forced into a conversion program. I have witnessed the connection conversion "therapy" has to those who suffer from substance use disorders. I have sat with and held space for those who were wounded by this practice at the most pivotal time of their life — childhood and adolescence.

For some, those wounds are carried throughout their entire lives. It’s truly horrible. And for far too many, this practice has resulted in death.

Please join me in helping ensure that LGBTQ people receive mental health care that is ethical, affirming and culturally competent.

Let’s make our community and state safe for ALL.

Thank you for your consideration.

Michelle Bahr

Shakopee

Owner/counselor at MN New Life Recovery Services in Shakopee

South regional editor

Deena is the regional editor for Shakopee, Jordan, Prior Lake and Savage and is passionate about uncovering the truth. Deena also enjoys gardening, playing tennis and up-cycling furniture.

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