Rep. Kenyatta applauds executive order to prevent conversion abuse

HARRISBURG, Aug. 16 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., praised the executive order Gov. Tom Wolf signed today to protect LGBTQIA+ Pennsylvanians from so-called conversion therapy.

“The idea of conversion therapy is a misnomer; it is conversion abuse. This harmful practice is junk science and has not place in the commonwealth. Pennsylvania is better when it is fairer, and today’s order helps to move us in that direction, particularly for our LGBTQIA+ young people. I applaud Governor Wolf for signing this historic executive order to ban conversion abuse in Pennsylvania.”

A survey on LGBTQIA+ Youth Mental Health by The Trevor Project shows that LGBTQIA+ youth are at increased risk for negative mental health outcomes. The survey results show that 45% of LGBTQIA+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year; 73% of LGBTQ youth reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety; and 58% reported symptoms of depression. Additionally, 36% of LGBTQ youth reported they have been physically threatened or harmed due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“LGBTQIA+ individuals deserve to be treated with respect and dignity,” Kenyatta said. “As one of just three LGBTQIA+ members of the state legislature, I will continue to push for legislation such as the PA Fairness Act to protect LGBTQIA+ Pennsylvanians from discrimination and to codify the governor’s action today.”  

Wolf’s Executive Order directs commonwealth agencies to discourage conversion therapy in the commonwealth. It directs commonwealth agencies to take steps to actively promote evidence-based best practices for LGBTQIA+ individuals that is actually supported by the scientific and medical communities.

It directs agencies to make updates to policies and procedures to better support LGBTQIA+ employees and the Pennsylvanians they serve. It also directs the Department of Human Services, the Insurance Department, Department of State and other appropriate agencies to explore and implement all options to ensure state funds, programs, contracts and other resources are not used for the purposes of providing, authorizing, endorsing, reimbursing, or referring for conversion therapy, to the extent permitted by law.

Photos of Rep. Kenyatta from today’s executive order signing can be found here.