The city of La Crosse is taking up the issue of conversion therapy and whether it should be banned.
The two biggest committee meetings for the city meet next week.
One agenda item is a resolution to prohibit conversion therapy on anyone under 18 years of age in La Crosse.
The Judiciary & Administration (J&A) Committee will vote Tuesday evening on the resolution put forward by council member Mac Kiel. If passed, it would move on to a full city council vote June 9.
The J&A committee meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at City Hall. The meeting can also be viewed here. To speak at the meeting, contact city clerk Nikki Elsen: 608-789-7510, by email or by sending a letter to city hall.
Along with the resolution, there are also six letters in support of the ban, including from the School District of La Crosse and YWCA La Crosse.
La Crosse Schools superintendent, Dr. Aaron Engel, personally signed a letter in support of the ban, and included a like to a published document from the Just the Facts Coalition on “reparative therapy,” which is better known now as conversion therapy.
“This ordinance will support our LGBTQIA+ community and safeguard our children,” Engel concluded in his letter submitted to the committee. “Please amend the City of La Crosse ordinances to prohibit conversion therapy.”
Also included with Engel’s letter was a unanimously signed resolution from April of 2021 by the La Crosse School Board in support of transgender, nonbinary and all LGBTQ+ students.
Lauren Journot, the YWCA La Crosse executive director, also submitted a letter in support of the city’s resolution to ban conversion therapy.
“YWCA La Crosse stands in solidarity with our LGBTQIA+ community, the Student Association of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, our partners at The Center: 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection, and Cia Siab, Inc., in support of a resolution banning conversion therapy in La Crosse,” Journot said in the letter, noting conversion therapy is harmful to LGBTQ people and discredited as being ineffective by multiple organizations.
“Most importantly, the LGBTQIA+ community have courageously shared countless stories of the trauma that this harmful practice has caused and we seek to raise these voices in support of their testimony and in support of this local effort to protect our community from further harm,” Journot added. ‘As we celebrate pride month in June, we look forward to celebrating proudly when our Common Council passes this ordinance and affirms the human rights of our local LGBTQIA+ family.”