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Equality PA congratulates Reading for passing ‘conversion’ therapy ban; local LGBT centers led effort to protect youth

READING, PA – On Monday, December 18, 2017, Reading (Pennsylvania) City Council unanimously voted to approve a ban on ‘conversion’ therapy in the city. The ordinance was introduced by Councilman John Slifko and proposed by Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center and the LGBT Community Center of Greater Reading.

‘Conversion’ therapy is a harmful, unscientific, and debunked practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Every major professional health organization rejects ‘conversion’ therapy because of the physical and mental health harm it causes. It is proven to lead toward higher instances of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and even suicide.

“LGBT youth in the City of Reading achieved a major victory tonight with Reading City Council’s vote to ban unscientific ‘conversion’ therapy. LGBT youth are fine, just the way they are, and Reading is to be applauded for being on the leading-edge when it comes to protecting LGBT youth from this harmful quackery,” said Adrian Shanker, Executive Director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.

LGBT Center of Greater Reading President Jocelyn Young called on LGBT organizations, especially community centers, to work together on projects that result in the betterment our communities.

“I am proud that The LGBT Center of Greater Reading was able to be successful in its first legislative endeavor by collaborating with the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center on this project,” added Young. “Today, Reading is a safer place for ALL youth.”

“With this ordinance, Reading follows Pittsburgh, Allentown, and Philadelphia in banning ‘conversion’ therapy, however it continues to be legal elsewhere in Pennsylvania,” said John Dawe, Interim Executive Director of Equality Pennsylvania. “Tonight we celebrate this remarkable accomplishment by Reading City Council, the Bradbury Sullivan LGBT Center, and LGBT Center of Greater Reading. We also call on the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Governor Tom Wolf, and municipal leaders across the state to take action to ban this horrific and often barbaric practice in all corners of the Commonwealth.”

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