Equality Virginia Works to Ban So-Called “Conversion Therapy” for Minors


Equality Virginia has been hard at work this spring, advocating for banning the practice of so-called “conversion therapy” or sexual orientation change efforts for minors. We’ve teamed up with local and national partners to encourage several boards licensed by the Virginia Department of Health Professions to issue guidances and regulations against the harmful and fraudulent practice. 

Although some people in our Commonwealth may think sexual orientation change efforts are a thing of the past, the fact is that minors in Virginia are still being subjected to this harmful and fraudulent practice. Unfortunately, parents and other family members of LGBTQ youth may believe “conversion therapy” is a helpful solution to the pain their children may be experiencing. However, we know the truth: that it is harmful, dangerous, and ineffective.

By working with the Boards that license health care providers – including psychologists, counselors, and social workers – we are working to ensure that no parent in our Commonwealth is ever again sold this junk science. Our strategy is twofold: work with each board 1.) to issue a guidance advising licensed professionals against the practice, and then 2.) to begin the regulatory process that will officially ban the practice.

Four guidances have already been approved by the Boards of Psychology, Counseling, Social Work, and Medicine. Here’s what the Board of Psychology had to say about the practice:

“Thus, under the Regulations governing applied, clinical, and school psychologists and others licensed or registered by the Board, practicing conversion therapy / sexual orientation change efforts with minors could result in a finding of misconduct and disciplinary action against the licensee or registrant.”

Anyone who experienced conversion therapy as a minor through a licensed professional should take advantage of the online complaint process available through the Department of Health Professions. Click here to find the online complaint form.

Now that’s what we call a victory! Thank you to Governor Northam and his administration for providing the proper language and support needed to push this incredible work through. E-mail [email protected] to learn more about how you can get involved in supporting this process today.