ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — The City of Rochester has become the seventh city in the state of Minnesota to ban the practice of conversion therapy. Rochester joins Minneapolis, St. Paul, West St. Paul, Duluth, Red Wing and Winona to ban the practice.
In the resolution, the city calls the practice “a harmful, barbaric practice that has no place in modern society.” The city also calls on the state to follow suit in banning the therapy and asks the public to report any known instances of using it in the city moving forward.
The vote passed 6-1 with Council President Randy Staver being the lone nay vote. There was no discussion on the agenda item.
Two members of the Rochester-Olmsted Youth Commission spoke at the beginning of the meeting saying why it was important to ban the practice; one that can leave mental scars on the youth.
“It can be emotionally devastating to individuals who have been forced to go through conversion therapy, which is often what happens,” said Angella Kocian, a licensed psychologist.
Kocian said, through her work, she has seen youth coming out in younger ages more recently, which shows signs of acceptance among the greater community. She says most LGBTQ+ clients she works with are around 13 years old.
Bryan Chase, the vice chair of Rochester Pride was elated by the decision.
“Conversion therapy being banned in Rochester signals to LGBTQ youth that they are welcome here.” Chase said. “They are wanted here. They matter here and that we won’t allow those practices to abuse them and harm them.”