Reading first in midstate to ban conversion therapy

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Dec 21, 2017 11:06 AM

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(Harrisburg) -- Reading has become the first midstate city to ban a controversial form of therapy, which aims to change a person's sexuality or gender identity. 

All six Reading City Council members present for the recent meeting voted in favor of banning conversion therapy, which is often used to try to "cure" homosexuality.

Jocelyn Young, president of the LGBT Center of Greater Reading, said she was filled with relief and joy at the vote.

"The people are perfect by themselves, they don't need to be disparaged in any way. And these messages that are sent are very damaging," she said.

She added the therapy can lead to depression and even suicide for LGBT youth.

"Conversion therapy is also, can be very damaging to them. They are told they are not who they really are," Young said.

Organizations such as the American Psychological Association and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration have come out against conversion therapy.

Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Allentown passed similar bans over the past year.

A proposal to prohibit the use of conversion therapy with children was introduced in the state legislature this year, but was never called up for a vote.

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