Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, a
Democrat, on Tuesday signed an executive order that directs agencies
to discourage therapies that attempt to alter the sexual orientation
or gender identity of LGBTQ youth.
Such therapies go by names such as
“conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy,” “sexual
orientation change efforts” or “ex-gay therapy.”
Wolf's order also prohibits the use of
state or federal funds for such therapies.
“Conversion therapy is a traumatic
practice based on junk science that actively harms the people it
supposedly seeks to treat,” said Wolf in a press 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
Tuesday's signing ceremony was attended
by representatives from The Trevor Project, which offers suicide
prevention services to LGBTQ youth.
The Trevor Project's Troy Stevenson
said that conversion therapy “has been consistently associated with
increased suicide risk and an estimated $9.23 billion economic
burden” in the United States.
“We urge the state legislature to
pass comprehensive state-wide protections and for governors across
the nation to follow the Keystone State's lead in ending this abusive
practice,” Stevenson added.
Republicans, who control the House and
Senate, have blocked efforts to pass a statewide ban on conversion
Wolf, whose second term ends in
January, is term-limited and cannot seek re-election to a third