Governor Bans Conversion Therapy For Minors

( Outgoing Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued a new executive order this week that will prohibit minors in the state from undergoing conversion therapy.

The Democratic governor’s executive order bans any “practice or treatment that seeks or purports to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Further, state agencies will now be tasked with making sure that all state resources — including official programs and funds — aren’t used to provide or endorse conversion therapy, which Wolf wrote “actively harms the people it supposedly seeks to treat.”

As Wolf said:

“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 even took to social media to outline three directives he’s given Pennsylvania agencies.

The first is they must do everything they can to discourage people from going through conversion therapy. The second is they must activity promote medical treatment that’s evidence based for any members of the LGBTQIA+ community. And third, they must update their procedures and policies so they can support Pennsylvania residents better who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Conversion therapy has already been condemned by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Association of Pediatrics. They have all said that it’s an “unfounded misconception of sexual orientation and gender identity,” and is very dangerous for minors.

The groups are specifically worried about minors harming themselves, especially those who may not be mature enough emotionally to handle the full effects of the conversion therapies.

The Williams Institute issued a report in 2020 that said that lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the United States were “nearly twice as likely” to have suicidal thoughts after they went through gender conversion.

What’s more The Trevor Project estimates that the “direct” and “indirect” costs of conversion therapy ends up putting a strain valued at $9.23 billion on the federal government every year. This includes medical attention that’s required for people who have suicide attempts, substance abuse, depression and anxiety.

In making the announcement of his new executive order, Wolf cited yet another report The Trevor Project put out. It said that negative mental health outcomes are much lower in schools, families and communities that are ultimately “accepting and supportive of their identities.”

Then, he commented:

“That’s why I signed this executive order to protect Pennsylvanians from conversion therapy and the damage it does to our communities, because all of our youth deserve to grow up in a commonwealth that accepts and respects them.”

Some other states have taken this same approach with treatments and therapies for minors.

Back in February, Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, issued what’s called a nonbinding opinion that classified some medical treatments that transgender youth would go under “such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers” as “child abuse.”