Alec Fischer, a 20-year-old student at the University of Minnesota, is leading the movement to have the discredited practice of "ex-gay" (also known as "conversion" or "reparative") therapy for minors banned in his state. With help from Representative Karen Clark and more than 80,000 supporters, Alec's vision is on its way to becoming law.
In the Change.org petition he launched recently, which went viral in a matter of days and continues to gain signers, Alec recalls being "bullied horrifically in middle school" for being gay, to the point of attempting to take his own life. He has since found acceptance for who he is and is ready to pay it forward. "I want my state to take a stand for LGBT youth," says Alec on Change.org.
Rep. Clark, our nation's longest-serving openly lesbian State Legislator, has heard Alec's message and is standing right alongside him. Having played an integral role in bringing marriage equality to Minnesota, Rep. Clark has drafted a bill with Alec's help that seeks to ban the use of ex-gay therapy on children and teens. The bill is set to be introduced during the legislative session that starts in February, and may be accompanied by a bill in the state Senate, courtesy of Senator Scott Dibble, who teamed up with Rep. Clark to make marriage equality a reality.
Alec's campaign calls on Minnesota state senators and representatives, as well as Governor Mark Dayton, to "support legislation that would protect minors from…gay conversion therapy, which subjects children to psychologically damaging 'treatment' that attempts to 'fix' the sexual orientation of children who identify as being LGBT." He notes that the practice in his state in particular gained national attention because of Representative Michele Bachmann's husband Marcus. A proponent of ex-gay therapy, Marcus' clinic offers the so-called service to people who are LGBT.
Ex-gay therapy is condemned by some of the most prominent voices in the medical field, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association, for being ineffective and harmful. Still, attempts to outlaw the practice for minors have passed in only two states.
GLAAD has enjoyed working with Alec as he introduced his cause with a wide audience and created such large-scale support for LGBT youth.
You can add your name to the ever-growing list of people throughout the country standing up by signing the petition and tweeting #CONVERTH8 to spread the word.