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Virginia

Va. Assembly to consider bill to ban conversion therapy on LGBT youth

Sunday, January 5, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. — A bill that proposes to ban the use of controversial gay-to-straight conversion (or, reparative) therapy on LGBT youth in Virginia will go before the 2014 General Assembly.

Va. House of Delegates

Va. House of Delegates

The bill’s early language states that “under no circumstances” should a medical health provider try to change the sexual orientation of any person under the age of 18, and doing so would result in “discipline by the licensing entity” against the practitioner, according to early copy of the bill obtained by GayRVA.

“Seeing what has happened in California and New Jersey; it’s really encouraged me to put this bill forward,” said Delegate Patrick Hope, the bill’s chief patron, from his Northern Virginia office.

Hope said he was introduced more recently to the issue of ex-gay therapy after speaking with some constituents who had been forced into the process.

He said that after seeing what was happening in other states, and reading about the damage the treatment can cause, he threw his support behind the bill. “I think this is the right tome to have a conversation about it.”

The bill would ban the practice of conversation therapy on minors, and practicing psychologists could lose their license if they are found to be providing the treatment.

Nationally, the fight against ex-gay therapy has been met with push back from faith activists who say the bill limits freedom of religion and speech.

Both California and New Jersey have banned the treatment but legal challenges followed shortly after the bills were signed into law.

California’s ban was upheld at the federal level, and by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Another federal judge ruled made a similar ruling in November upholding the New Jersey law.

In May of 2012, the World Health Organization released a statement on the 20th anniversary of the removal of homosexuality from the list of mental disorders, and took the chance to condemn the practice of conversation therapy.

“Since homosexuality is not a disorder or a disease, it does not require a cure. There is no medical indication for changing sexual orientation,” said Pan American Health Organization (With the WHO) Director Dr. Mirta Roses Periago. “Practices known as “reparative therapy” or “conversion therapy” represent “a serious threat to the health and well-being—even the lives—of affected people.”

Equality Virginia’s Executive Director James Parish has put his LGBT-rights group’s weight behind the bill. Parish said when groups like the American Psychiatric Association and other major health organizations oppose the use of gay conversion therapy, it makes clear evidence that this so-called “treatment” is not only ineffective, but is also harmful to LGBT individuals.

‘It is time for Virginia to accept that one’s sexual orientation is not a disease or a disorder and banning gay conversation therapy is a step in the right direction,” said Parish in a statement.

© GayRVA.com. An LGBTQ Nation media partner.
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46 more reader comments:

  1. WHAT WIZARDRY IS THIS?!

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 12:50am
  2. Please ban ALL conversion therapy! It’s a freakin death trap!

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 12:51am
  3. Isn't gay conversion therapy what Michele Bachmann's husband does for a living?

    Replied on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 3:13am
  4. What!? Somebody was gonna’ do that sh*t!? WHOOAAA!!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 12:53am
  5. Hopefully they make the correct decision

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 12:53am
  6. I dont want to seem stupid but what is conversion therapy? Is that where they try to force someone to be straight? The second reason most lgbt youth kill themselves?

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 12:53am
  7. yes. like my daughter. the school, against my permission and express statements, tried doing conversion therapy on her, forcing her to dress like a boy, telling my son that his sister is his brother at school, telling him i'm gay like being gay is bad. making my daughter hate herself to such a degree that after only two DAYS with that bitch teacher she wouldn't stop injuring herself or attacking us. it is the cruelest thing you can do to a child, making them hate themselves just for existing.

    Replied on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:01am
  8. Sara Levine, I'm so sorry that happened to your daughter and your family. I'm shocked that the school would do that, and frankly, I don't think it's legal. Is it a private, religious school? I don't think public schools are allowed to do that. I'm not sure, unless it's a new thing schools are doing. Is your daughter transgender? This is outrageous, and your daughter shouldn't receive that treatment at school. The school is in the wrong, not your family or your daughter. What part of the country do you live in?

    Replied on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:11am
  9. Conversion therapy is, in fact, a form of "brain washing" that has never proven effective in changing a person's sexual orientation. It can range from sleep deprivation combined with an almost no protein diet to break a person down psychologically in order to "reprogram" them over a period from a few months to several years. They other end of this "spectrum" is to resort to "electro-shock treatments" while viewing 'gay porn' when they experience arousal - they get shocked, effectively assuring aversion therapy. The maximum effort of this method of "treatment" is to sedate the victim and strap them down and use a mouthguard to prevent broken teeth or having the tongue bitten off. It's purpose is for destroying memories and personality of the "victim". They are never the same again.

    Replied on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:36am
  10. Watch “ClockWork Orange” to know what they are talking about!

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 12:55am
  11. they need that here in michigan. i’m sick to death of these holier-than-thous telling my children they’re evil!

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 12:57am
  12. Im pretty sure conversion therapy has about 80% suicide rate. Not healthy for anyone and completely absurd!

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 12:57am
  13. YES!!!

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 12:58am
  14. I can’t be the only one who finds the practice barbaric

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:00am
  15. why is this a question?

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:01am
  16. Cant believe they have to “consider” banning it ? Conversion therapy is barbaric !

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:02am
  17. In Virginia?! Totally impressed!

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:03am
  18. This so called therapy should have NEVER been an option to begin with.

    Ban it, no questions asked.

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:06am
  19. God I hope so!! Maybe a couple of those members should experience the “therapy” first hand to see what it entails!

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:06am
  20. Prayers that we can wipe this off the face of America. What few Christians realize is that everyone is equal. It’s simple to say but for a lot it’s hard to accept. God never meant for this. Prayers out to the ones suffering through this therapy, also to those who ended because of it. May God be with you all.

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:07am
  21. People are who they are. Others need to let them be and live and let live

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:07am
  22. if we followed the logic of those who claim that “conversion” therapy converting a heterosexual to homosexual could also be done….of course they never talk about that because it cant be done like converting someone to straight from gay

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:14am
  23. AMEN!

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:16am
  24. Fuck yeah!

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:18am
  25. Consider? Consider? What the he//

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:18am
  26. Exactly Nexia!

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:21am
  27. After watching American horror story asylum, I’m hoping this conversation therapy shit isn’t being used on youth. Fucking filth.

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:25am
  28. Stupid !

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:26am
  29. About bloody time. Its hard enough being a teenager without that bullshit added to the mix.

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:29am
  30. Conversion therapy of all types need to be banned immediately! Leave people the fuck alone and let them do what they want!

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:29am
  31. The American Humanist Association, American Sociological Association, American Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers, American Pediatric Association and at least 10 other professional associations condemn and may not practice it.

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:33am
  32. Conversion therapy is, in fact, a form of “brain washing” that has never proven effective in changing a person’s sexual orientation. It can range from sleep deprivation combined with an almost no protein diet to break a person down psychologically in order to “reprogram” them over a period from a few months to several years. They other end of this “spectrum” is to resort to “electro-shock treatments” while viewing ‘gay porn’ when they experience arousal – they get shocked, effectively assuring aversion therapy. The maximum effort of this method of “treatment” is to sedate the victim and strap them down and use a mouthguard to prevent broken teeth or having the tongue bitten off. It’s purpose is for destroying memories and personality of the “victim”. They are never the same again.

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:38am
  33. Try converting a lion to be sheep? It’s arrogant to think someone wants to be heterosexual

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:44am
  34. Wow! Are state legislators across this country so fucking scared of corporate lobbyists and ALEC that they will divert attention from economic development? This is why YOU THE VOTER better not complain about a fucking thing in your life if you elect these morons back into office.

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:46am
  35. Progress…

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:48am
  36. Wow. Pardon my language but um.. that’s fucked up :/ I’m only twenty and ive had friends and family kill themselves to stop people from hurting them more. I couldn’t imgaine what it would be like if they went through this stuff. :/

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:51am
  37. Notice they left out gender identity? Cis torturing gay kids is wrong, but doing the same damned thing to transgender kids is just ducky.

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:52am
  38. Conversion “therapy” is horrible. Young homosexuals have a hard enough time coming to terms with this gs they will have to face let also e having g it pounded into their head that there is something g wrong g with the way they were born. It’s disgusting g. How about acceptance therapy???

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:57am
  39. You can’t om what they were born to be.change people fr

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:59am
  40. This is one of many forms of so called therapy that needs to end! If people started asking questions, instead of accepting the status quo, more people would feel like individuals. Ever went to the emergency room because you felt depressed and didn’t want to tell the whole world? Wrong choice to make, in some cases. While you want to believe that you are getting help, don’t take everything at face value. Have I heard and seen of this kind of stuff? Yes, and the therapy itself creates more problems than the “problem” it purported to solve. While some indviduals may benefit from medication, be careful of the motivations behind it. Ask, if other options exist. These are YOUR kids, YOUR familiy members and YOUR loved ones that need YOUR voice (even if they don’t ask for it or say they don’t want it).

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 2:26am
  41. If you are an adult, you can be led to trust the powers that be (even though not as easily at first). A degree and high powered medical associations does not equal morality. Ask other patients, parents or community members about thier experiences and/or knowledge. The hidden truth often lies there. Bottom line-don't send a family member, refer a person or admit yourself to any mental health or therapy provider you haven't THOROUGHLY checked out. If someone can't at the time do such for themself, than be sure to have someone knowledgeable enough to help you!

    Replied on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 2:32am
  42. What century are these fools living in?? Some people are gay, get the hell over it

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 2:29am
  43. Conversion therapy thinking is medieval and it should be banned.

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 2:44am
  44. Please do

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 2:44am
  45. Looks like a bunch of old guys making this stupid, homophobic law.

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 2:58am
  46. Finally, end this Voodoo shit everywhere!!

    Posted on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 3:06am