Five PA medical boards adopt policies opposing use of conversion therapy

PA medical boards oppose conversion therapy

The Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg lit up in rainbow colors for pride month on June 5, 2023. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

May 3, 2024

“We value real freedom here in Pennsylvania – and no matter what you look like, where you come from, who you pray to, or who you love, you should be able to express who you are and be free from harassment and discrimination,” said Gov. Josh Shapiro.

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration announced on Thursday that five state boards, under the leadership of the Pennsylvania Department of State, have adopted policies condemning conversion therapy as a “discredited, pseudoscientific practice” that harms LGBTQ youth.

“Since hateful rhetoric and pseudoscience still dominate the clinical experiences of many LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians, knowing that our state oversight boards saw fit to pass these protections is a small weight off of our shoulders,” Ashleigh Strange, Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on LGBTQ+ Affairs, said in a statement.

“This is a solid step toward letting folks know that identifying as LGBTQ+ is not a disease or a crime in Pennsylvania.”

The five state boards that adopted new policies opposing the use of conversion therapy include: the State Board of Nursing, the State Board of Medicine, the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors, the State Board of Psychology, and the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

Conversion therapy is the practice that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity and is sometimes referred to as reparative therapy, sexuality counseling, or sexual orientation / gender identity change efforts.

Licensed medical professionals in those fields have been notified that all five boards consider conversion therapy “unprofessional harmful conduct that may subject any licensee engaging it to administrative discipline,” according to a release issued by the governor’s office.

“This decisive action makes clear that there is no place for the harmful, dangerous practice of conversion therapy here in our Commonwealth,” Shapiro said in a statement.

“We value real freedom here in Pennsylvania – and no matter what you look like, where you come from, who you pray to, or who you love, you should be able to express who you are and be free from harassment and discrimination.”

 

 

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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