In a recent radio interview, Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano said discouraging conversion therapy is “disgusting” and LGBTQ children are simply “confused.”
Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano criticized his Democratic opponent Josh Shapiro and Gov. Tom Wolf for discouraging conversion therapy in the state, calling it “disgusting.”
Mastriano appeared on a conservative talk radio station last week where he condemned Shapiro and Wolf for coming out against the practice, according to an article from the HuffPost.
“This is disgusting to me, where bureaucrats and Tom Wolf — and Josh Shapiro — think it’s okay to come in and threaten parents and therapists because their kids might be confused,” Mastriano said in the interview.
Wolf issued an executive order earlier this month directing state agencies to discourage the scientifically discredited practice, update policies to better support LGBTQIA+ employees, and ensure state funds are not going to support the practice.
The American Psychiatric Association opposes conversion therapy or any practice “that is based on the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or is based on the a prior assumption that the patient should change his or her homosexual orientation.”
According to a study from the Trevor Project study, LGBTQIA+ youth who underwent conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide in the past year. Researchers found that when they accounted for the harms caused by conversion therapy – including negative mental health outcomes and substance use – conversion therapy costs the nation $9.23 billion each year.
Mastriano not only defended conversion therapy in the interview, but also went on to say that LGBTQ children are simply “confused.” He blamed the “confusion” on educators, saying schools “have graphic pornographic books laid out.”
This kind of homophobic rhetoric is on-brand for Mastriano, who thinks gay marriage should be illegal, and that LGBTQ couples shouldn’t be able to adopt children. He has also likened LGBTQ-friendly curriculum to “grooming” and “indoctrination,” and said it’s “madness” to include gender identity under federal anti-discrimination laws.
Mastriano is a leading figure in the Christian nationalist movement, which argues that the US is a Christian country.
Mastriano has been an outspoken supporter of Doanld Trump and said the former president asked him to run for governor. He has made headlines recently for walking out of his interview with the Jan. 6 committee without answering questions; being identified as the “point person” in Trump’s fake elector scheme to overturn the 2020 election results; and using campaign money to pay for advertising on a conspiracy theorist and antisemitic website.