The fight to end gay conversion therapy in Virginia has been going on for several years. Delegate Patrick Hope (D-47), Senator Scott Surovell (D-36), and Senator Rosalyn Dance (D-16) have repeatedly sponsored bills to ban the practice. Statistics show that children whose parents do not accept their sexual orientation or gender identity are more likely to suffer depression, more likely to commit suicide, and more likely to contract AIDS.
Despite this, the bills have repeatedly died in committee. One of the recurring arguments against the bills is that decisions about appropriate medical practices should be made by the relevant licensing boards. The licensing boards, meanwhile, have routinely argued that if something is to be deemed illegal, it needs to be done legislatively. Around and around we go.
Since the last legislative session, the three main relevant medical boards–Psychology, Counseling, and Social Work, with the assistance of Equality Virginia and the Northam Administration, have all issued letters of guidance declaring that conversion therapy “has the potential to harm patients…and should be considered as a violation of standards of practice.”
But there is more work to be done, and that includes getting these licensing boards to support a complete ban on the practice. The licensing boards are now accepting comments from the public on whether to ban conversion therapy. Equality Virginia has a complete set of talking points and links to the public comment portals here. Please visit before August 7th to get your comments in!