Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed Executive Order 2022-2 "to protect Pennsylvanians from conversion therapy," according to a press release from his office.
"Conversion therapy is a traumatic practice based on junk science that actively harms the people it supposedly seeks to treat," said Wolf. "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 them."
The 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 we serve.
The order also directs the Department of Human Services, the Insurance Department and 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 any purposes related to conversion therapy, to the extent permitted by law.
"Gov. Wolf is taking a critical step to protect LGBTQ minors across the state of Pennsylvania. LGBTQ kids and their families are targeted by so-called therapists causing lifelong harm," said Mathew Shurkaa conversion-therapy survivor and co-founder of Born Perfect, a survivor-led national campaign to end conversion therapyin a separate press release. "This executive order demonstrates that our political offices have the power to protect our youth and it is their responsibility to do so.
"We are sincerely grateful to Gov. Wolf. This is a huge step forward for the health and safety of LGBTQ young people in Pennsylvania. We hope that even more governors will take note and enact similar measures to ensure that no state funds are being misused to pay for this deadly practice."
National Center of Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter added, "More than 20 states have taken action to protect minors from the harm caused by sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts. Conversion therapy has been condemned by every leading medical and mental health professional organization in the country.
"This order ensures that taxpayer dollars cannot be used to pressure LGBTQ youth to change who they are. Many of these youth have already faced family rejection for being LGBTQ; they deserve safety and respect. In particular, no young person in state care should be sent to a therapist who subjects them to further trauma and abuse."