Assembly Bill 349 Opinion

Cal Bunge-

Wisconsin Assembly bill 349 attempts to ban conversion therapy from being performed on minors. Conversion therapy is a practice that seeks to change an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation. Conversion therapy has infamously tried to associate pain and with homosexuality in order to create a negative association between the pain and the LGBT identity of the patient. Patients often watch homosexual pornography while being shocked or given pills that induce profuse vomiting. If enacted, Assembly bill 349 would ban mental health providers form performing conversion therapy on a minor. The bill does not prevent adults from seeking conversion therapy nor does it ban constructive counseling and education about sexual orientation or gender identity. Under current Wisconsin law, parents may force minors to go to conversion therapy whether the minor consents or not. Conversion therapy is painful and has never had a successful trial, so it makes sense to prevent parents from forcing their children to go through conversion therapy. Even if a minor consents to conversion therapy, they should not always receive it. Self harm is relatively high among teens and especially high among LGBT teens. Conversion therapy is a possible way for self destructive teens to harm themselves, so consenting to conversion therapy while young does not mean it is in the patient’s best interest. If this proposal is enacted, it would protect the interests of LGBT teens while preserving the rights adults to seek whatever treatment they see fit.