MEADVILLE, Pa – Randy Weed spent most of his life in Crawford County but his small town hasn’t always felt like home.
“I could not be who I was. It took me until I was 32 years old to come out as gay,” said Weed, the president of Crawford Area LGBT.
He said he didn’t have it as badly as some people in the LGBT community.
That’s why Sunday he teamed up with local activists, urging law makers to ban conversion therapy in Pennsylvania.
The service is meant to change someone’s sexual orientation, but research shows it’s a hoax.
“It’s impossible to change ones sexual orientation or gender identity anymore than it is to change the color of ones skin,” said David Moore, the president of the Pennsylvania Equality Project.
A few other cities in Pennsylvania already ban conversion therapy, but activists told us legislation is harder to pass in this region.
“It’s all over everything’s all done and we’re all equal but that’s not the case especially in the rural areas,” said Weed.
Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Allentown have local ordnances in place to stop this practice.
Activists want Erie and Crawford County to adopt similar policies.
They said it’s not only ineffective, it’s dangerous too.
“Especially young people that are made to be outsiders, especially in their families and their church communities, or the community at large really tend toward depression and suicide,” said Shirley Heim, and LGBT activist.
Weed said it’s time local law makers make moves to protect some of society’s most targeted individuals.
“This is still happening today. This is real. This is not a historical fact. This is something that still goes on in communities,” said Weed.