Rep. Brian Sims to Introduce Ban on Gay Conversion Therapy for PA Minors

If passed, Pennsylvania would become the third state to enact such a law.

In a press conference this afternoon at the Attic Youth Center, Philly State Rep. Brian Sims and Luzerne Rep. Gerald Mullery announced plans to introduce a bi-partisan bill that will make it illegal for Pennsylvania mental health providers to perform gay conversion therapy on minors. The bill is similar to one recently introduced in the State Senate by Anthony H. Williams. If passed, Pennsylvania would become the third state to pass such a law, following in the footsteps of New Jersey and California.

During the conference, Sims said: 

“It’s been 40 years since the American Psychological Association excluded homosexuality from being classified as a mental disorder, and the APA has published studies showing that patients younger than 18 suffer from a multitude of harmful effects associated with this so-called therapy, including withdrawal and suicidal thoughts. It’s time to protect Pennsylvania children from this quackery that can inflict years of harm for those who manage to survive it.”

Monique Walker, a doctoral candidate at Drexel University and Counseling Services Coordinator at the Attic Youth Center who has worked to help young people deal with the harmful effects of conversion therapy, was also on hand to back up the proposed ban with a few facts:

“In my experience, there is oftentimes a deeply rooted connection to religious fundamentalism that underscores the thought processes of many advocates of so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ which highlights the need for clinicians to take a hard look at their own biases and motivations for practicing under the auspices of good clinical practice and ignoring the ethical issues and very real consequences of these methods.”

Stay tuned to G Philly for more on the bill’s progression and (hopefully!) eventual passage.

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