Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a bill Monday banning conversion therapy for minors, making Virginia the first state in the South to do so.
Conversion therapy is discriminatory, traumatic for LGBTQ youth, and based on junk science.— Rep. Jennifer Wexton (@RepWexton) March 3, 2020
I am happy that conversion therapy for minors will finally be banned in Virginia, & was proud to have cosponsored this legislation while I was in the state Senate.https://t.co/Y06o3Vq7Ol
The bill amends Chapter 24 of Title 54.1 in the Code of Virginia, which outlines health care definitions and regulations. It defines conversion therapy as “any practice or treatment that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender.” This does not include other treatments like counseling that promotes helping a minor explore their emotions and gender identity.
Virginia now joins 19 other states and the District of Columbia in banning conversion therapy.
“Across the country, state legislatures are recognizing that the harm caused by conversion therapy is a public health crisis,” said Mathew Shurka, a conversion therapy survivor and Co-Founder of Born Perfect in a press release. “Virginia is the twentieth state to pass a law protecting LGBT youth, and the first to do so in the South.”
The Democratic-majority Virginia Senate passed the legislation in mid-February after passing the House of Delegates earlier on Feb. 3.
The ban will extend to all Virginia residents under the age of 18 and is set to go into effect on July 1.