Borough Council Unanimously Votes To Ban Conversion Therapy In State College
The State College Borough Council passed an ordinance banning conversion therapy in State College during its regular meeting Monday night.
The council unanimously voted in favor of the ban, which will prevent anyone from practicing conversion therapy in downtown State College, regardless of whether or not they are a licensed medical professional. Representatives from Front and Centre — a nonprofit organization which seeks to expand the rights of LGBTQA community members throughout Centre County — addressed council members prior to the vote in support of the ordinance’s passing.
For those unfamiliar with conversion therapy, it is a pseudoscientific practice targeted at members of the LGBTQA community with the goal of changing their sexual orientation. Most individuals who undergo conversion therapy are children whose parents do not approve of their expressed sexual preference.
Additionally, Mark Greenberg — a faculty member in the Human Development and Family Sciences department– presented information on the negative effects of conversion therapy on children. He noted that it can have serious mental health consequences on those “treated” and has no tangible, positive impact on society.
“[Conversion therapy] is deeply problematic to a person’s mental and physical health,” Greenberg said.
Councilman David Brown expressed some concerns before the final vote. He was “troubled” by the wording of the ordinance, worrying that it was not clear enough to fully end the practice of conversion therapy in State College. He proposed adding pastors and preachers to the list of people banned from practicing conversion therapy, not just medical professionals, to ensure that it is completely ridden from the borough.
The passing of the ordinance is a massive victory for State College’s LGBTQA community.
“THANK YOU to all of our allies, supporters, and fellow citizens!” Front and Centre posted on Facebook following the meeting. “Now let’s keep moving forward, this is the just first of many steps to helping our region and state to continue to become an inclusive and safe community!”