Alim Kheraj
January 24, 2017 4:38 am
David McNew/Getty Images

Given that we’re delving into uncertain times when it comes to the rights of minority groups, one State Representative in Philadelphia is attempting to ban conversion therapies in the city, and we’re totally applauding it!

Despite the Obama administration publicly speaking out against controversial conversion “therapies” aimed at the LGBTQ community, with former White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett stating that the administration supports the banning of such practices, the practice is still legal in most states.

Conversion therapy is an effort to “reverse” sexual identities through often traumatic and mentally damaging means. What’s more, there is no significant scientific evidence to support that it is indeed effective. Instead, it is often cited as perpetuating the mental distress of many LGBTQ people, who are already more disproportionally likely to be impacted by mental health problems.

And while there has been some movement in certain states and cities, like Seattle, which recently banned the “therapy“, the appointment of Mike Pence, who has supported anti-LGBTQ legislation and conversion therapies, as Vice President in the Trump administration has lead some to question what the future holds in terms of banning the practice.

However, one State Representative in Philadelphia has set out on a mission to ban conversion therapy in the city.

According to a report on CBS Philly, State Representative Brian Sims, along with other elected officials, is on a mission to outlaw the “therapy”, which he branded “child abuse.” 

Sims, who is the first gay person elected to the Pennsylvania legislature, said:

Despite his enthusiasm to ban the practice, however, Sims noted that seeking out when conversion therapy was taking place was a difficult task.

CBS Philly also points out that Sims’ attempts to ban the controversial “therapy” statewide has previously failed, but that he had said that he felt now was the time to try again. A bill has been  introduced in the city council that would outlaw it in the city of Philadelphia.

Echoing Sims’ sentiments was sponsor Mark Squilla, who said that while it might be hard to uncover where the “therapies” might be occurring, “we want to let people know the city would not stand for this type of therapy.”

Given that conversion therapy is not only dangerous but also a discredited psychotherapy method, it’s amazing to see people like State Representative Brian Sims standing up agains this inhumane practice in a bid to help rid the country of it. What’s even more incredible is that he’s making a stand at a time where LGBTQ rights and voices are potentially under threat. Hopefully continued resistance to the “therapy” will encourage other states to join the likes of California, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Oregon, and Illinois, and municipalities, including Seattle, Washington, Cincinnati and Miami Beach.

If you or anyone you know needs to talk, you can contact The Trevor Project here or the GLBT National Help Center.

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