Sims celebrates executive order banning conversion therapy

HARRISBURG, Aug. 15 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., is celebrating Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to sign an executive order on Tuesday, Aug. 16 prohibiting taxpayer dollars from being spent on the practice of conversion therapy, which is defined as any attempt by a licensed practitioner to change a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

“The disgusting and archaic practice of conversion therapy has no place in modern society,” Sims said. “After 10 years of advocacy and with the help of multiple partners and the leadership of the Trevor Project, we’re happy to see that a ban on conversion therapy is closer than ever. These pseudoscientific practitioners who claim to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are a major cause of depression and suicide for LGBTQ+ children and young adults.

“I am so thankful that Governor Wolf has taken serious strides to protect LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians from this horrific practice,” Sims continued. “Our most vulnerable, our children who are questioning their sexuality or gender identity, should be saved from the fate of so many others who came before them; those whose suffering due to conversion therapy led them to irreparable harm and even death. Thank you, Governor Wolf, for making this a priority.”

This executive order:

  • Would prohibit state government agencies from using state funds to provide, authorize, endorse, reimburse or refer for conversion therapy.
  • Would prohibit state sponsored insurance from covering conversion therapy and would investigate complaints of insurance discrimination for gender-related care.
  • Would ensure that the governor’s office and any other state offices are treating LGBTQ+ constituents with culturally appropriate care and service.

According to The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health, LGBTQ+ youth who experienced anti-LGBTQ+ victimization -- including being physically threatened or harmed, discriminated against, or threatened with or subjected to conversion therapy -- reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not have any of these anti-LGBTQ+ experiences.

More information is available by contacting Sims’ district office at 215-246-1501.