Rep. Babette Josephs bill would ban gay-to-straight conversion therapy for minors

HARRISBURG, Oct. 5 – State Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Phila., has introduced a bill that would ban mental health providers from offering sexual orientation conversion therapy for minors.

"No reputable mainstream mental health association considers being gay, lesbian or bisexual a disease or mental illness. Yet, that is exactly the premise behind this kind of therapy – a wrong assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder that can be 'corrected,'" Josephs said.

"As homosexuality is not a disorder, so attempts to 'convert' the sexual orientation of anyone, particularly a minor, threatens the individual's short- and long-term health and well-being."

Conversion therapy generally purports to change a person's sexual orientation by using such techniques as aversion or psychoanalytic treatments or spiritual interventions.

Josephs noted that the potential negative effects of such treatments include depression, substance abuse, self-loathing and suicide.

"The very concept of 'correcting' homosexuality is dehumanizing and contrary to conventional societal norms. The fact that minors are forcefully subjected to this therapy that is not based in any scientific fact is unacceptable. Pennsylvania's children deserve better," Josephs said.

The bill has been introduced as H.B. 2691.

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