Human Services Board supports regulation, prohibiting conversion therapy

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EAU CLAIRE COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Eau Claire County Human Services Board was faced with a Wednesday night on whether or not the county should support both regulating and banning conversion therapy for people under the age of 18.

Conversion therapy is defined as any treatments offered for a fee that seeks to change someone's sexual orientation or identity.

During Wednesday’s meeting, board members unanimously passed a resolution that would support both efforts to regulate conversion therapy in the Eau Claire area and prohibit paid conversion therapy for people under the age of 18.

“That's been passed now by 14 states, in the city of Milwaukee and Madison through city government, so we'd like your support as a board,” says board member, Sandra McKinney.

“If there isn't any scientific therapeutic value in it, then it would seem as though it's something we shouldn't be supporting, with conversion therapy, there isn't any evidence at all,” says Colleen Bates, chair of the board. “As a matter of fact in some cases, it's believed to be detrimental to the individuals involved in that kind of therapy.”

The American Psychological Association lists risks of conversion therapy including depression, anxiety and self-harm.

“We want people in our area to know that we don't think this is an effective form of therapy,” adds Bates.

The Human Services Board is calling the passing of this resolution more proactive than reactive, and that it is simply sending a message.

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