Pennsylvania Governor Signs Executive Order Banning Conversion Therapy

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order on Aug. 16 banning conversion therapy, a controversial practice that seeks to change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The executive order directs state agencies to discourage conversion therapy and instead directs them to promote evidence-based practices for supporting LGBTQA+ people.

The order also directs the Department of Human Services and other appropriate agencies to ensure that state funds are not being used to provide or reimburse for conversion therapy.

Wolf said that he signed the order because the state legislature has not acted on a bill to ban the practice and that young lives are lost while the bill waits.

“Conversion therapy is a traumatic practice based on junk science that actively harms the people it supposedly seeks to treat,” Wolf, a Democrat, said in a statement.

“This discriminatory practice is widely rejected by medical and scientific professionals and has been proven to lead to worse mental health outcomes for LGBTQIA+ youth subjected to it. This is about keeping our children safe from bullying and extreme practices that harm them,” Wolf further said.

The order cited research from The Trevor Project that found that 13% of LGBTQIA+ youth nationwide were subjected to conversion therapy, and 83% of those subjected to it were under the age of 18.

Researchers found that conversion therapy contributes to negative physical and mental health outcomes and costs the United States $9.23 billion each year.

LGBTQIA+ youth who underwent conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide in the past year, the research revealed.

“There is something very simple that we can all do to help. We can stand up and tell LGBTQIA+ youth that we hear them and we accept them exactly as they are,” Wolf said.


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