Kim Welter is the Deputy Director after serving as the Director of Programs and Outreach at Equality Ohio, and briefly as interim Executive Director; with over eight years of experience with the organization, she is Equality Ohio’s most seasoned staff member. She joined the organization in 2008 after serving as the Executive Director of Equality Toledo for over 2 years. A graduate of University of Michigan, she got her secondary teaching certificate through the University of Findlay and her Master of Arts and Education from the University of Toledo where she taught composition for 3 years. Kim is a graduate of the Center for Progressive Leadership and serves on the board of Lesbians Benefiting the Arts. In 2010, Kim took a leave of absence from Equality Ohio to serve as Campaign Manager for the ONE Bowling Green Campaign in Bowling Green, Ohio which successfully defended two local non-discrimination ordinances from a ballot initiative to repeal.
Presentation: Violence, Consent, and Bisexuality
Time: Breakout Session 2
On December 28, 2014 the tragic suicide of Cincinnati teenager, Leelah Alcorn became international news. Leelah identified as transgender but was not accepted by her parents who forced her into conversion or reparative therapy which aimed at changing her gender identity and sexual orientation. Hours after her death her suicide note was posted online which included her contempt for the “therapy” and the following, “The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. My death needs to mean something.” Unfortunately Leelah is not alone in being forced to undergo dangerous conversion therapy. Research has found that conversion therapy may encourage family rejection and undermine self-esteem, connectedness and caring, important protective factors against suicidal ideation and attempts. According to a 2009 report of the American Psychological Association, the techniques therapists have used to try to change sexual orientation and gender identity include inducing nausea, vomiting, or paralysis while showing the patient homoerotic images; providing electric shocks; having the individual snap an elastic band around the wrist when aroused by same-sex erotic images or thoughts; using shame to create aversion to same-sex attractions; orgasmic reconditioning; and satiation therapy. Other techniques include trying to make patients’ behavior more stereotypically feminine or masculine, teaching heterosexual dating skills, using hypnosis to try to redirect desires and arousal, and other techniques–all based on the scientifically discredited premise that being LGBT is a defect or disorder. Many incorrectly assume that conversion therapy is only provided within religious contexts. However, many licensed health care professionals across the country have been identified as providing conversion therapy. Therefore professional associations representing social workers, psychologists, and other health care professionals have teamed up with Equality Ohio to ban this practice amongst licensed professionals. This workshop is a part of this effort to better educate professionals, consumers, and the public about the harms of conversion therapy and what can be done to stop its practice. The workshop will outline solutions to banning conversion therapy including legislation, rule changes, and the importance of filing complaints against providers who perform conversion therapy. Participants will leave the workshop with a more thorough understanding of the licensing complaint process for licensed healthcare professionals in Ohio. In addition, other efforts to change Ohio’s administrative policies will be discussed including opportunities to assist in this effort.
1. Participants will learn about what conversion therapy is, what it is not, and the importance of providing affirmative therapy/interactions with clients who identify as LGBTQ
2. Participants will learn about different solutions to ban conversion therapy including the importance of encouraging complaints to professional licensing boards
3. Participants will learn about other initiatives to change Ohio’s administrative policies to be LGBTQ inclusive and how to get involved