A Conversation with Cincinnati Councilman Chris Seelbach
By Natalie Porter
In an article published in the January issue of The Gay Word, I reported that the Cincinnati City Council voted to ban conversion therapy tactics for individuals under the age of 18, in a 7-2 vote on December 9, 2015. City Councilman Chris Seelbach introduced this bill to the Council. As a new Ohio resident (and resident of the Midwest), I wanted to learn more about Councilman Seelbach, his experiences with conversion therapy, and how the passage of this bill came about.
According to his biography on the Cincinnati City Council website, Councilman Seelbach was a key player in the effort of repeal Article XII in Cincinnati. Article XII denied legal protection to gays and lesbians in the City and led many gay men to leave Cincinnati (http://www.npr.org/2014/04/30/307967244/gays-in-cincinnati-from-second-class-citizens-to-fully-accepted). This anti-gay law cost the City over $25 million in lost revenue, an estimate provided by the Visitor’s bureau. Councilman Seelbach grew up in Kentucky and began advocating for LGBT rights as a college student at Xavier University in Cincinnati. He became the first openly gay City Council member in Ohio in 2011.
On February 9, 2016, I sat down with the City Councilman in his office in City Hall to discuss his personal experiences with conversion therapy, how he became involved in local politics, and the process of getting this bill passed.
You can link to part one of this conversation here: http://thegayword.com/official-experienced-conversion-attempt/
Part two of this interview (in the April 2016 issue) will focus on the process of getting the anti-conversion therapy bill passed in Cincinnati.
Porter, N. (March 2016). Official experienced ‘conversion’ attempt. The Gay Word, 24(8), 35. http://thegayword.com/official-experienced-conversion-attempt/