Virginia bans conversion therapy for minors


Northam signed 68 bills in all on Tuesday as the 2020 General Assembly session begins to come to an end

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, left, and Virginia House of Delegates speaker-designate, Eileen Filler-Corn, front right, are surrounded by Democratic Legislators as he outlines his legislative agenda at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia is outlawing the discredited practice of conversion therapy for LGBTQ children.

Conversion therapy is a practice used to try to change sexual orientation or gender identity. Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday he had signed into law that bans licensed therapists and counselors from subjecting minors to the practice. The legislation passed the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist, said he was proud to sign the bill into law.

“No one should be made to feel they are not okay the way they are — especially not a child,” Northam said.

The American Psychological Association has said conversion therapy is not based in science and is harmful to mental health. Many people who have been through it say it deepened feelings of depression and increased thoughts of suicide.

The Virginia law will go into effect July 1. Virginia makes 20 states total that have passed laws prohibiting conversion therapy.

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