This is welcome news. State Senator Anthony Williams plans to introduce legislation that will ban “conversion” or “reparative” therapy for minors.
In 2009, the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation issued a report, concluding that sexual orientation change efforts can pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, including confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, self-blame, a loss of faith, high-risk sexual behaviors, among several other negative psychological effects. Additionally, the Association stated that methods used “to convert or ‘repair’ homosexuality are based on developmental theories whose scientific validity is questionable,” and issued a resolution urging parents, guardians, young people and their families to avoid sexual orientation change efforts that portray sexual orientation as a mental illness or developmental disorder.
As a result of such findings, similar studies and resolutions that these therapies pose a danger to the mental health of children, I am introducing this legislation to prohibit state-licensed mental health professionals in Pennsylvania from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with a person under the age of 18.
Similar legislation was approved in California, but has been put “on hold” by the court system pending further court hearings. Our neighbors in New Jersey are currently pushing for a ban as well.
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