Words by Smiley Team
The Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, recently enacted an executive order to ban conversion therapy in the state, in a huge win for equality.
“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,” Wolf said.
“This is about keeping our children safe from bullying and extreme practices that harm them.”
State agencies under the executive order are directed to promote “evidence-based best practices” for LGBTQ+ youth and adjust their policies and procedures to better serve Pennsylvania’s LGBTQ+ community. The order also directs that state agencies ensure that state funds, programs, contracts, and other resources are not used to provide or endorse conversion therapy.
A 2021 study from The Trevor Project, a national LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention and crisis intervention group, found that around 13 percent of LGBTQ+ youth had been subjected to conversion therapy to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, including 83 percent who underwent conversion therapy while under 18.
“Conversion therapy is causing horrific consequences for the mental health and well-being of a generation of young LGBTQIA+ individuals. But there is something very simple that we can all do to help,” Wolf added.
“We can stand up and tell LGBTQIA+ youth that we hear them and we accept them exactly as they are.”
Pennsylvania joins 20 other states as well as the District of Colombia in banning conversion therapy for minors. Five other states have partial bans.
DONATE: The Trevor Project, the organization that held the aforementioned study accepts donations if you want to help support their work.
SUPPORT: Moreso than anything, lend an ear. There may be an LGBTQ+ youth in your life that doesn’t have support from their parents or providers.