Equality Virginia Calls on Advocates: Speak Out Against Conversion Therapy!

For years, Equality Virginia has advocated to ban the practice of so-called “conversion therapy” or sexual orientation change efforts for minors in Virginia. During the 2020 General Assembly session, Senator Scott Surovell’s SB 245 and Delegate Patrick Hope’s HB 386  passed through the legislature, which means that state-licensed professionals are now prohibited from practicing conversion therapy on minors. Now, anyone who is licensed by the Virginia Department of Health Professions will face disciplinary action if they practice conversion therapy on anyone under age 18. The law also bans the use of state funds for conducting conversion therapy. 

Currently, all five Virginia boards that license health care providers – including psychologists, counselors, social workers, medical health providers, and nurses – are working to ensure that their internal regulatory processes align with the new Virginia law. 

We are asking Virginians to take action in the regulatory process. The public comment forum for the Board of Nursing and the Board of Medicine will be open through September 30th, 2020. We encourage you to submit your comments in support of the regulatory update: 

Public Comment:Board of Nursing 

Public Comment:Board of Medicine 


Virginia law now bans the practice of conversion therapy on minors, and the state licensing boards are taking appropriate action to update their internal processes to reflect this update to the law. Use these talking points to craft the message that you will submit:

  • I support this regulatory action, which protects youth from so-called “conversion therapy,” a dangerous and discredited practice aimed at changing their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Conversion therapy is a dangerous and discredited practice based on the false claim that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) is a mental illness that needs to be cured—a view with no scientific basis.
  • Virginia law now protects young people from state-licensed therapists who falsely claim that being LGBTQ is a mental illness, no longer allowing them to take advantage of parents or harm vulnerable youth. 
  • The law recognizes that these practices are harmful because they use rejection, shame, and psychological abuse to force young people to try and change who they are.
  • Conversion therapy is known to be extremely dangerous and can lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, and even suicide attempts.
  • No young person should ever be shamed by a mental health professional into thinking that who they are is wrong. Mental health professionals should provide care that is ethical and affirming for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young people.
  • In accordance with VA law, young people can no longer be targeted and hurt by state-licensed providers practicing conversion therapy.


Equality Virginia is so grateful for the hard work that you put into protecting LGBTQ youth from this harmful practice. We could not do this crucial work without you.
E-mail Andaiye at [email protected] if you have any questions.