Evers orders state agencies to use gender-neutral language, blocks juvenile conversion therapy funding

Published: Jun. 1, 2021 at 2:20 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 9:35 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Gov. Tony Evers was joined by fellow members of his administration and community leaders Tuesday to mark the beginning of Pride Month with a celebration outside the state Capitol that included raising the Rainbow Pride Flag over the statehouse.

“The Rainbow Pride flag is a symbol of our state’s commitment to celebrating and supporting LGBTQ Wisconsinites and is emblematic of the history of the community and the hard fought battles to be seen and heard, and to live fully with dignity and respect,” Gov. Evers said, adding that he saw it as a sign of the progress made and the progress still needed to build an inclusive state.

Along with Tuesday’s event, the governor also used the occasion to roll out a pair of executive orders, the first is designed to create a more inclusive language in his administration by directing state agencies to write external documents in a gender-neutral way whenever possible. The order includes suggestions for doing so that include:

  • Using gender-neutral terms and pronouns;
  • Drafting to eliminate the need for pronouns;
  • Omitting superfluous gendered words, and;
  • Making any reference to gendered family relations

The second order attempts to keep public dollars from being used to support conversion therapy for minors. The state’s Departments of Health Services, Children and Families, and Corrections must now “expressly disallow” state and federal funds from being allocated to agencies for the practice. In his announcement, the governor pointed to multiple medical associations and professional organizations that oppose it. The Administration added a Family Acceptance Project research project found adolescence conversion increases the risks of depression and suicide in LGBTQ children.

“These executive orders today recognize the work we have to do as a state to protect, support, and celebrate all LGBTQ Wisconsinites, especially our kids, and ensure our state is a safe, inclusive, and just place where every person has the resources and support to thrive,” Evers continued.

Evers Administration noted that the Pride flag flying over the state Capitol is just the third time that has happened. The first occasion came in June 2019, just months after Evers took office. It will fly on the East Wing flagpole. State officials stated no flags that regularly fly over the Statehouse will be disrupted, including the POW-MIA flag that flies on the North Wing.

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