Across our Commonwealth LGBTQ+ organizations and advocates are coming together to ask our legislators to protect LGBTQ+ youth from the harmful practice of conversion therapy.
LGBT Life Center has joined our partners by calling on our legislators to ban this practice in Virginia during the 2020 legislative session that starts this January.
Please use the template below (or your own story) and the names and emails of our local legislators to send them a letter letting them know that banning this discredited practice is important to YOU, their voter.
(You can copy and paste the text of this letter, and/or revise it to fit your needs. You can also copy and paste the emails of our local elected officials – see below the text of the letter for names and emails of elected officials).
Copy and paste the text below, or revise it to fit you!
Conversion therapy – sometimes called reparative therapy – is the discredited and harmful practice of attempting to change one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This philosophy is based on wildly outdated notions and bigotry. In Virginia, it is currently legal to promote and engage in this dangerous technique. Youth often have no choice when this treatment is sought out by their parent or guardian, yet this practice can have detrimental impacts for years and decades to come.
Since 1975 – 44 years – the American Psychological Association has stated that homosexuality is not a mental illness, yet throughout Virginia organizations and individuals continue to masquerade “conversion therapy” as a legitimate and psychologically backed option for LGBTQ youth – to “cure” them of being who they are. In fact, all major mental health organizations have deemed conversion therapy as unethical, ineffective and dangerous to the wellbeing of clients.
This is an affront to thriving adult members of the LGBTQ+ community, and most importantly it is an attack on the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ youth. Fostering an environment in which LGBTQ+ youth are told they can be “cured,” or even suggesting that they need to be cured of something that is a natural part of who they are is the true psychological harm.
We believe that therapy shouldn’t become deadly; according to a 2019 article by USA Today, “Suicide attempts nearly tripled for LGBT young people who reported both home-based efforts to change their sexual orientation by parents and formal intervention efforts by external parties, such as therapists and religious leaders…” And data from the Pew Research Center notes that LGB youth are five-times more likely to have attempted suicide than their heterosexual peers, and that 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide (92% of those before the age of 25). Societal “norms” and pressures have an immense impact on our youth. It is the responsibility of our leaders to fight against adversity, protect our citizens, and create a brighter future for our children. We must do everything in our power to ensure those pressures don’t include state sanctioned emotional and mental abuse, such as conversion therapy
LGBTQ Virginians deserve to grow up in a world and have an environment in which they are encouraged to thrive, free from the constraints of a misinformed pseudo-medical community promising a chance to “cure” something that is not wrong with them.
National and international professional boards in the medical and psychological community agree; Conversion therapy has been condemned by The American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Counseling Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychoanalytic Association, Australian Psychological Society, British Psychological Association, Endocrine Society, National Association of Social Workers, Psychological Society of Ireland, Psychological Society of South Africa, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
Eighteen states and DC have already banned this harmful practice. I call on Virginia to join them in protecting our youth.
HAMPTON ROADS’ STATE REPRESENTATIVES
“Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler” <DelKConvirs-Fowler@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Emily Brewer” <DelEBrewer@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Chris Jones” <DelCJones@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Cliff Hayes” <DelCHayes@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Jay Leftwich” <DelJLeftwich@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Stephen Heretick” <DelSHeretick@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Barry Knight” <DelBKnight@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Jason Miyares” <DelJMiyares@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Christopher Stolle” <DelCStolle@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Cheryl Turpin” <DelCTurpin@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Jay Jones” <DelJJones@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Joseph Lindsey” <DelJLindsey@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Gordon Helsel” <DelGHelsel@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Jeion Ward” <DelJWard@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Michael Mullin” <DelMMullin@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate David Yancey” <DelDYancey@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Marcia Price” <DelMPrice@house.virginia.gov>
“Delegate Robert Bloxom” <DelRBloxom@house.virginia.gov>
“Senator Monty Mason” >firstname.lastname@example.org>
“Senator Mamie Locke” <email@example.com>
“Senator Thomas Norment” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
“Senator Lionell Spruill” <email@example.com>
“Senator Lynwood Lewis” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
“Senator William DeSteph” <email@example.com>
“Senator John Cosgrove” >firstname.lastname@example.org>
“Senator Louise Lucas” <Senlucas@aol.com>
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