POLITICS

Virginia Bans LGBTQ “Conversation Therapy” –Law To Go into Effect July 1

Lawmakers in Virginia have successfully banned “LGBTQ conversion” therapy for minors, making it the 20th state in the nation to protect youth from this discredited practice.

On March 3, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill that makes Virginia the 20th state in the nation to ban the practice of conversion therapy for minors. On February 3, the Virginia House of Delegates voted 66-27 to ban licensed therapists and counselors from subjecting LGBTQ+ youth to the practice, and on February 17, the Senate passed the House’s version 22-18 to approve the ban.

The Virginia law will go into effect July 1.

The practice of “conversation therapy” has been a running debate for years, and has been denounced by multiple pro-LGBTQ organizations like The Trevor Project, which released a survey in June 2019 that found that 42% of LGBTQ youth who underwent “conversion therapy” reported a suicide attempt in the prior year. The rates are even higher for transgender and non-binary youth, with 57% of respondents reporting a suicide attempt.

The Trevor Project is a nonprofit focused on suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQ and questioning youth.

Why Does This Matter?

Prohibiting the practice of “Conversation Therapy” would prevent health care providers from engaging in the unlawful and dangerous practice of deliberately attempting to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The belief that gay people need to be “cured” of their sexual orientation also contributes to harassment and violence against the LGTBQ community and anyone else who doesn’t conform to rigid stereotypes of gender and sexuality.

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