So-called “conversion therapy,” sometimes known as “reparative therapy,” is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades, but due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.
"Conversion Therapy" has been strongly condemned by the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American School Counselor Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, National Association of Social Workers, American Counseling Association, American Psychoanalytic Association, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, World Psychiatric Association, and the Pan American Health Organization (the regional office of the World Health Organization).
On October 9, 2018, the Eau Claire City Council unanimously (9-0) passed an ordinance creating Chapter 8.08, entitled “Conversion Therapy Prohibited”, of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Eau Claire. This ordinance bans the use of conversion therapy on minors in Eau Claire. It states, in part: "This ordinance is adopted to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of the City of Eau Claire, especially the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, and to protect them against the exposure to serious harms caused by conversion therapy. It is unlawful for any person to practice conversion therapy with anyone under 18 years of age. Any person convicted of violating this section shall be subject to a forfeiture of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 for each violation. For purposes of this section, each day a person is found to have practiced conversion therapy shall be considered a separate violation."
On September 18, 2018, The Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors unanimously (29-0) passed a resolution stating, in part: "This resolution is adopted to promote the health, safety and welfare of the people of the County of Eau Claire, especially the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and trasngender youth, and to protect them against the exposure to serious harms caused by conversion therapy. The Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors requests and supports the efforts of the State of Wisconsin, the Federal Government, cities and villages in Eau Claire county to regulate conversion therapy and support bills or ordinances introduced in the Senates or Assembly's and local cities and villages that would regulate and prohibit paid conversion therapy by mental health professionals to persons under the age of 18."
On September 24, 2018, The Eau Claire School Board unanimously (7-0) passed a policy clause stating, in part: "The Eau Claire Area School District shall exclusively enter into agreements with health clinics and/or providers that agree to abide by the District’s Nondiscrimination Policy for Students - Policy 411. The District shall prohibit the practice of "Conversion Therapy" (as defined by the American Psychological Association) by school branch office therapists."
On August 22, 2018, The Eau Claire City-County Board of Health approved a resolution stating, in part: "Many national health organizations have implicated conversion therapy as negatively impacting mental health for the LGBTQ+ population. Interventions aimed at a fixed outcome, such as gender conformity or hetorosexual orientation, including those aimed at changing gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation are coercive, can be harmful, and should not be part of behavioral health treatment. The Board of Health encourages stakeholders in Eau Claire County and in the State of Wisconsin to explore best practices and regulation related to preventing harm associated with conversion therapy."