State Reps. Smith-Wade-El, Kenyatta and Benham applaud two state boards’ opposition to conversion therapy

HARRISBURG, April 17 – State Reps. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster; Malcom Kenyatta, D-Phila.; and Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, today applauded the Pennsylvania boards of Psychology and Osteopathic Medicine for their recent adoption of new policies opposing the practice of conversion therapy on LGBTQ+ minors.

The representatives issued the following statement:

“We applaud the state Boards of Psychology and Osteopathic Medicine’s adoption of a new Statement of Policies (SOP) that opposes the use of the discredited, pseudoscientific practice of conversion therapy on minors in Pennsylvania. Conversion therapy, also known as conversion abuse, is a dangerous practice aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression that has resulted in profound physical and psychological harm on patients, including depression, trauma, and suicide.

“We hope that the state boards of Medicine, Nursing and Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors will vote in the coming weeks to adopt similar SOPs opposing the use of conversion therapy.

“Although we are glad to see esteemed state medical boards gradually take steps to oppose the practice of conversion abuse, this is happening at too slow a rate. It is long past time that Pennsylvania joins the 20 other states outlawing the practice. Our bill, the Protection of Minors from Conversion Therapy Act, would prohibit a mental health professional from engaging in this archaic treatment with an individual under the age of 18. 

“For the health and well-being of our LGBTQ+ youth, we must outlaw this dangerous practice rooted in bigotry from being practiced in Pennsylvania.”