via Shutterstock

Pittsburgh Does the Right Thing and Bans Conversion Therapy, the First City in PA to Do So

Protect LGBTQIA children and teenagers.
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In a move that’s sure to upset more than a few right-wing politicians (hi, Mike Pence), Pittsburgh has banned conversion therapy, becoming the first city in Pennsylvania to do so. Specifically, the bill bans conversion therapy for children and teenagers 18 and under. While a blanket ban would have been nice to see, this bill is certainly nothing to sneeze at, to be sure.

For those unaware (and how could you be), “conversion therapy” refers to the psychological manipulation (i.e., brainwashing) of people, often children, into denying their sexual orientation or gender identity. The conditioning carries with it the promise of “fixing” LGBTQIA people, relieving them of what these programs essentially believe to be “deviant behavior.” In other words, these programs try to make lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer people straight and transgender, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming people cisgender.

Such therapy has been condemned by the American Psychiatric Association, along with numerous other organizations. Statistics show that people who undergo or are subjected to conversion therapy are more likely to attempt suicide in their lifetimes–likely due to the fact that they’re forced to believe they’re somehow broken or need to otherwise be “fixed” because of their sexual orientation or gender identity (hence why it’s often referred to as “reparative therapy”).

In the face of such statistics, it’s good to see that Pittsburg bill passed city council in a unanimous vote, and Mayor Bill Peduto has already promised to sign the bill into legislation.

Across the country, conversion therapy has been banned on a state level in Washington, D.C., California, Oregon, Illinois, New Jersey, and Vermont. Though it isn’t banned in the wider state of New York, New York City is working on its own version of the bill, setting up fines and jail time penalties for people and companies who seek to perpetuate the barbaric practice of conversion therapy. It’s a cheekily-titled bill as well, as it’s been dubbed “Prevention of Emotional Neglect and Childhood Endangerment,” or PENCE. It’s some solid shade-throwing on the part of the New York City legislator who wrote the bill, taking a swipe at the Vice President-elect who has previously supported organizations that carry out conversion therapy.

Minors are especially deserving of protection, as, well… they’re kids. Such irresponsible and horrifying “therapies” (if they can be so called) have been shown to literally endanger children. It’s disheartening to know that while President Obama had previously called for an end to conversion therapy, he has been thus far been unable to call for a law or other legislation to protect the LGBTQIA population from such treatments.

I can only hope that more cities (and hopefully entire states) can follow suit with Pittsburgh to help protect LGBTQIA people.

(via LGBTQ Nation, image via Shutterstock)

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Jessica Lachenal
Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.