Elk River teens protest ‘ex-gay’ conversion therapy billboard

This billboard from Dallas is almost identical to one that appeared in Elk River this weekend.
This billboard from Dallas is almost identical to one that appeared in Elk River

High schoolers gathered at the Minnesota Capitol on Saturday to protest a billboard in Elk River that touts conversion therapy and was placed by a group founded by a Republican lawmaker.

“We noticed the sign a few weeks ago and we knew instantaneously that it needed to be taken down. It’s not OK,” 17-year-old Emily Motin told KARE 11. Motin helped coordinate the protest. “We’ve researched the therapy and it has been shown to be horrible and tortuous to its patients,” she said.

The billboard was placed by the Pro-Family Forum, a group founded by Republican Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen and his “ex-gay” friend Kevin Peterson.

On Facebook, the Pro-Family Forum responded saying:

Let the discussion begin. There is a move to ban therapy for youth who are experiencing unwanted same sex attractions, which has passed in New Jersey, California and Wash. D.C. Where in our Constitution do they find a right to ban therapy for a willing participant? Here we see 7 teenagers protesting this billboard and demanding it needs to come down.

An associated group run by Peterson called Change Therapy Works, also commented:

Watching the new story made me think of the song from South Pacific, “You’ve got to be carefully taught to hate…” These children protesting are too young and inexperienced todo more than chant hate and blame.

Here’s the KARE 11 report:

Previous articleSpotlight on the Arts: 20% Theatre Company Twin Cities
Next articleMN Senators introduce bill for transgender health insurance equity
Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.