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Banning ‘Conversion’ Therapy

‘Conversion’ therapy, also referred to as “Reparative Therapy” or “Ex-Gay Therapy,” is a widely discredited practice that attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Practices to “cure” individuals of their same-sex sexual orientations and transgender identities include a number of techniques ranging from shaming to hypnosis to inducing vomiting to electric shocks.

There is broad consensus in the medical community that sexual orientation and gender identity are immutable traits—and that attempts to change these characteristics through conversion therapy or other means are not only unnecessary and ineffective, but also very harmful. Research shows long lasting damage, including negative mental health effects (including anxiety, depression and suicidality), guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, substance abuse, stress, self-blame, decreased self esteem, increased self-hatred, problems in sexual and emotional intimacy, high-risk sexual behaviors, and deterioration of relationships with family.

Laws protecting LGBTQ children from conversion therapy are needed to ensure that therapists who are licensed by the state are providing competent care and are not harming patients. These laws are especially needed to protect minors, who are almost always forced or coerced to undergo conversion therapy rather than opting to undertake these treatments on their own.

Five jurisdictions—California, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Oregon, and Illinois—now protect LGBTQ youth from the practices.

Equality Pennsylvania has made banning “conversion” therapy a priority and is proud to partner with regional leader the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Center and national partner the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in our municipalities and across the Commonwealth.

The following Pennsylvania municipalities ban “conversion” therapy:

  • Allentown City
  • Bet​hlehem City
  • Doylestown Borough
  • Pittsburgh City
  • Philadelphia City
  • Reading City
  • State College Borough
  • Yardley Borough

If you are an elected official, municipal leader, or community leader interested in protecting your community’s children from ‘conversion’ therapy, contact us at info@equalitypa.org.

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