The following resolution passed unanimously...

WHEREAS, in 2022 La Crosse became the 14th city in Wisconsin to pass an ordinance banning a practice called “Conversion Therapy”. This therapy is described as “counseling that seeks to change a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity including efforts to change behaviors or gender expression, and to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings towards individuals of the same gender;” and,

WHEREAS,  on June 15, 2022, the President of the United States signed an executive order banning conversion therapy. This exemplifies a national push to criminalize providing therapy to children that does not line up with the “gender affirmation care” model of therapy, and restricting other forms of therapy that may help children better than the aforementioned model; and,

WHEREAS, in 2023, the Wisconsin Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which oversees all rules in the state of Wisconsin, voted 6-4 to block a ban on conversion therapy that was introduced to the “Rules” committee by the Wisconsin’s Family Therapy and Social Work Examining Board which is an arm of the Department of Safety and Professional Services and regulates the licensing of therapists across the state.  This also illustrates a push in Wisconsin to restrict the speech of counselors. Fortunately the Republican majority in the Rules committee was able to block this rule; and,

WHEREAS, gender dysphoria in children is described as confusion or unease about one’s gender. Many centers of influence in America have adopted the “gender affirmation care” model for handling children with gender dysphoria. This model advocates for allowing children to adopt a gender identity that is different than their sex at birth. Because this model views dysphoria as normal, very little research is done with the child for understanding if there are other mental or emotional causes that are driving the child to believe they are a gender opposite their sex at birth. This model of care first encourages a social transition, and then encourages the use of puberty blockers in children, which can cause depression, which then increases a child’s dislike of their body. Next, this therapy moves on to using sex change hormones which have the effect of chemically castrating boys and potentially castrating girls. The last part of this therapy involves the removal of sexual body parts like breasts for girls and testicles for boys. Presently, all these “treatments” can be done before the age of eighteen in Wisconsin. In the ban on conversion therapy, counseling that supports this method of treatment is considered the only acceptable treatment method despite there being other treatment methods available; and,

WHEREAS, In the UK, the sex change center called Tavistock, known as the world’s largest pediatric gender clinic will shut down in the spring of 2023 because an independent review found that, “it was not a safe or viable long-term option”. One point of concern was the early suppression of the results of an experiment conducted in 2011 that many children after a year of  taking puberty blockers reported an increased desire for self-harm; girls experienced more behavioral and emotional problems and greater dissatisfaction with their bodies – in short the drug exacerbated gender dysphoria. Numbers from Tavistock showed that 98% of children who  took puberty blockers went on take take cross sex hormones. Also, studies showed that those who took puberty blockers did not attain normal height and bone density because a child’s natural puberty hormones were suppressed; and,

WHEREAS, multiple studies have also shown that most dysphoric youth (80 to 90%) who are not given any gender affirming care interventions, will eventually find comfort in their own gender as they grow older.  Finland, in 2020, and Sweden, in 2021, also discontinued their use of gender affirming care for minors after also finding that there is no evidence to show that the benefits outweigh the risks of taking puberty blockers, such as weaker bone density and an unknown long-term impact on the brain. In fact a Dr. Hilary Cass, the one who chaired the independent review of Tavistock said, “There is no way of knowing, rather than buying time to make a decision, puberty blockers may disrupt that decision-making process.” In both Finland and Sweden, all puberty blockers and cross sex hormones, and surgeries can no longer be performed on minors; and,

WHEREAS, research from the UK also showed that, too often, other factors leading to a child’s dysphoria diagnosis were not properly considered or researched before issuing a referral that quickly sent children down the path of puberty blockers, hormone therapy and irreversible surgeries. Had these children had access to other models of counseling treatment such as learning to find comfort in their own gender, or addressing other mental health issues, they could have avoided a lifetime of medical interventions and the regret and pain from the numerous, life-long side effects of the surgeries and drugs; and,

WHEREAS, those who oppose conversion therapy say a person suffering from dysphoria is more likely to commit suicide and attribute its cause anecdotally to society, parents, ministers and conversion therapy methods. However, other reasons have not been considered such as the gender affirmation care model itself. The complete medicalization of children at such an early age should be considered as a cause for higher rates of suicide. Long term studies on the effects of puberty blockers and hormone therapy on children have also not been done. This means that these interventions are experimental, and their effects, including suicide have not been measured. Therefore, those cities who have adopted bans on conversion therapy have not provided proof that suicide is a result of conversion therapy or that it leads to suicide; and

WHEREAS, the words conversion therapy at one time referred to therapy that essentially amounted to child abuse where electroshock therapy was used on the genitals to dissuade a child from having same sex attractions. Some people believe that those methods are what is being banned, yet that type of treatment would be appropriately dealt with laws that are already on the books. It is simple conversations with minor clients that is being banned; and,

WHEREAS, banning a certain method of counseling is creating a speech suppression ordinance that discriminates against disfavored viewpoints, and violates the freedom of speech clause in the First
Amendment; and,

WHEREAS, many pastors and religious leaders have degrees in counseling and there are many counselors who have religious reasons for not adopting the gender affirmation model of care for dysphoric children. A ban on conversion therapy would violate the First Amendment’s religion clause and the Wisconsin’s Freedom of Conscience Clause; and,

WHEREAS, a conversion therapy ban violates the Fourteenth Amendment which protects parents’ rights to pass on their beliefs to their children which is done when choosing the kind of therapy that their children receive; and,

WHEREAS, a ban on conversion therapy violates the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendments’ prohibition on vagueness clause because it is unclear what kind of speech is not allowed, and to whom it is prohibited against. Some countries like Finland, Sweden and the UK have raised the question of the difficulty in discerning whether a child is actually identifying as another gender, or if they are simply going through a phase. So, an ordinance that bans therapy for children who identify as the opposite gender has the problem of how to decide if the child fits into the category that is described in the ordinance. The other problem is in a lack of clarity of what specific statements are outlawed by the therapist. These unclear rules lead to subjective and arbitrary judgments by those who have to decide, which is untenable and impermissible in an ordinance according to the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendments; and,

WHEREAS, the municipalities in Wisconsin have no authority to legislate in areas where the state has already entered into that field of regulation. Our state legislature set up boards that created codes of conduct for licensed counselors, and a city cannot override the rules that were set in place.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Republican Party of La Crosse County, Wisconsin calls upon the Wisconsin Legislature to dismantle all purported bans on, “conversion therapy,” as they are unconstitutional,  and restrictive upon a parents’ and counselors’ right to choose an appropriate method of counseling for a child; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that based on the recent research results from other countries on the detrimental effects of the gender affirmation model of care on children, and that there is no proof that the benefits outweigh the risks, the Republican Party of La Crosse County, Wisconsin calls upon the legislature to have this model of care suspended, which also includes dismantling all bans on conversion therapy,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Republican Party of La Crosse, County, Wisconsin intends to stand on the right side of history by not supporting a model of care for minors that is responsible for creating an entire generation of young citizens whose bodies have been subjected to experimental drugs at an early age, the results of which have not been measured, and who many have been rendered unable to conceive children or who cannot ever reverse the effects of the surgeries performed on them. By eliminating these bans on conversion therapy, the legislative and judicial branches of government can cease their taking part in what may very well be one of the biggest, yet saddest experiments on our youth in American history.

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