Ban Conversion Therapy

Equality Virginia believes “conversion therapy” and other reparative therapies that falsely claim to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity should be banned.

Current Status

“Conversion therapy” is a wide-range term used to describe dangerous and continually discredited counseling and psychotherapy practices that claim to change or repress a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Unfortunately, there are no restrictions or bans against these harmful practices in Virginia.

Background ►
These pseudo-practices have been rejected by every major medical and mental health organization for decades. However, some practitioners still continue to practice conversion therapy due to perpetuated discrimination and stigma against LGBT individuals.

These treatments are both ineffective and cause harmful damage to those forced to undergo them, especially children and young adults. Any misleading practices that identify LGBT sexual orientation or gender identity as a disease or condition should not be accessible or validated by Virginia’s laws or communities.

Why is conversion therapy harmful?

Research on conversion therapies has not only disproven their efficacy, but also indicated that they can extremely harmful with numerous negative effects. The Human Rights Campaign states, “Beyond studies focused solely on reparative therapy, broader research clearly demonstrates the significant harm that societal prejudice and family rejection has on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, particularly youth.”

In 2007, a task force of the American Psychological Association thoroughly reviewed existing research on the efficacy of reparative therapy. APA’s report stated there was a lack of sound research on sexual orientation change efforts and that the “results of scientifically valid research indicate that it is unlikely that individuals will be able to reduce same-sex attractions or increase other-sex sexual attractions” through conversion or reparative therapies.

Beyond conversion therapy not working, the use of such practices perpetuates the notion that sexual orientation or gender non-conformity is a mental illness or disorder. In a primer on sexual orientation and youth endorsed by the American Counseling Association and American Psychological Association, it states that conversion therapies “often frame the inability to change one’s sexual orientation as a personal and moral failure.” Read the full primer here.

Take Action

  • Ask your town or city council or your county board of supervisors to pass a resolution banning false and harmful conversion or reparative therapies. Write to us at [email protected] for more information.

Do you have a story to share?

Tell it!
Help us make a record of harmful conversion or reparative therapies occurring in Virginia. Share your experiences with conversion therapy through Equality Virginia’s Tell It campaign.