Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Crowley Signs Conversion Therapy Condemnation on Trans Day of Visibility

Resolution makes it official county policy to condemn the discredited practice.

By - Mar 31st, 2023 01:16 pm

County Executive David Crowley signing conversion therapy condemnation. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley signed a resolution Friday officially condemning conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy is a widely discredited practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It has been rejected by major medical groups and associations like the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. State legislators are working to overturn an earlier administrative ban of the practice.

The resolution condemning the practice was authored by Sup. Peter Burgelis. “Conversion therapy is abuse and it’s government’s role, and, I will say, responsibility to protect people who can’t protect themselves,” said Burgelis on Friday.

Burgelis’ resolution also calls on the Milwaukee County Mental Health Board to adopt a similar resolution. The mental health board has oversight of the county’s behavioral health system, and while the county does not currently provide funding for conversion therapy or organizations practicing it, the resolution, Burgels said, codifies a previously informal opposition to it.

Crowley signed the legislation at Diverse & Resilient, a non-profit LGBTQ advocacy organization, on Transgender Day of Visibility. “I’m really excited that we’re signing this,” the county executive said. “Because this is going to let folks know that you are welcomed here, that you are enough, and that we’re going to do everything that we can to protect you and make sure that you can continue to thrive right here in your own community.”

Elle Halo, a local trans activist and Diverse & Resilient board member, noted that there have been three Black trans women murdered in Milwaukee in the past year. “And so for us, as community leaders, but also just personally as a black trans woman, it’s, it’s alarming, and it’s scary.”

Halo asked for greater support for the trans and LGBTQ community, saying, “Less thoughts and prayers, and more action and policies and legislation.”

Christopher Allen, president and CEO of Diverse & Resilient, echoed Halo, saying, “I think this day and moment is extremely important for us; it is a step in the right direction. As Elle said, there’s a lot more that we need to do in order to make sure that our trans community is safe, supported and affirmed.”

One day before the board voted on Burgelis’ condemnation resolution, the Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Senate voted to block an attempt at banning conversion therapy in Wisconsin.

At the signing Friday, Burgelis said his resolution is “not the end of the line, but it’s a step forward. And by making small changes with small steps forward, we’ll get to a community where everyone can be accepted for who they are, and be their authentic selves.”

Categories: MKE County, Weekly

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