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Virginia has just accomplished a historic first for 2018 in introducing a bill to ban the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. Conversion therapists claim to reduce and eliminate the homosexual or bisexual orientation of youth, or force a child to reject their gender identity. Every major mental health professional organization has refuted the practice of conversion therapy as ineffective and potentially harmful. Virginia may soon join the nine states which have passed similar legislation and the more than 30 states which have considered such protections.
As the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project applauds the actions of Delegate Patrick Hope of the General Assembly of Virginia for submitting this bill. The Trevor Project frequently receives calls of LGBTQ youth in crisis stemming from their experience with conversion therapy and aims to advocate for the eventual end of state sanctioned conversion therapy across the country via the 50 Bills 50 States campaign.
Delegate Patrick Hope said “Conversion therapy is based on the false assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder or a sin. Well, it is not. There is no on/off switch to sexual orientation.” Hope concluded, “I believe our government has a responsibility to protect our children from the dangers of conversion therapy. This bill seeks to do just that.”
“As a proud new resident of the great Commonwealth of Virginia and a survivor of the horrors of conversion therapy, it has been an honor to work with Delegate Hope to protect future generations of LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy.” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “From the drafting of the bill, to the building of the coalition with amazing organizations like Equality Virginia, to what I hope will be eventual passage of this legislation: This is the fight for LGBTQ youth we need to fight in 2018.”
If you would like to help The Trevor Project protect LGBTQ youth from the horrors of conversion therapy you can text TREVOR to 40649.
If you’d like to learn more about conversion therapy and the nationwide efforts to end it you can go to our 50 Bills 50 States campaign website: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/50-bills-50-states/.
You can also help support this important work by donating here: www.TheTrevorProject.org/give.
The Trevor Project is the leading and only accredited national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people under the age of 25. The Trevor Project offers a suite of crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as a peer-to-peer social network support for LGBTQ young people under the age of 25, TrevorSpace. Trevor also offers an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, a legislative advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and conducts research to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our Trevor Lifeline crisis counselors are available 24/7/365 at 866.488.7386. www.TheTrevorProject.org
Calvin Stowell, Chief Growth Officer