LGBTQ Youth Town Hall Sponsored by National and Local Organizations
On November 15, one week after a heated midterm election, over 45 local Pennsylvanians — including young people, parents, and leaders from local and state LGBTQ organizations — gathered at the Erie Center for Arts and Technology as part of a town hall event focused on educating the community about ways that state policies impact LGBTQ young people in The Commonwealth.
Throughout the evening, town hall participants discussed the current landscape of state policies impacting LGBTQ youth, spending a large portion of discussion on the recent executive order signed by former Gov. Wolf, which prohibits state funding from being allocated to the dangerous and discredited practice of so-called conversion “therapy,” which research consistently illustrates is associated with poor mental health and greater suicide risk. This order builds off of the momentum of a broad movement to end the harmful practice across the U.S., with over 26 states that have some form of policy protecting LGBTQ young people, including 20 states that have passed statewide laws banning the practice through their state legislature.
Subject matter experts and leaders working at the state and national level were also in attendance, providing updates from their respective organizations and answering questions about policy implications, advocacy tools, and the path forward in the movement to protect LGBTQ youth.
Attendees at the town hall event were encouraged to contact their legislators to urge them to support statewide legislation that would work to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy, by removing the licensure of providers who engage in these harmful practices. Pennsylvanians interested in sending an email to their respective legislator asking them to support this type of life-saving legislation can do so at https://p2a.co/nC3VwwC.
Co-sponsors of the town hall event included: Compton’s Table, Crime Victim Center of Erie County, Erie Gay News, National Association of Social Workers Pennsylvania Chapter, Northwest Pennsylvania Pride Alliance, Pennsylvania Psychological Association, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie, Greater Erie Alliance for Equality, PFLAG National, and The Trevor Project.
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