Trevor Project and a coalition of other organizations are on a mission to outlaw the usage of conversion therapy on minors state by state. The group has organized with lawmakers all over the country, slowly progressing the cause and on Monday, they broke new ground in The South as Virginia became the first southern state to outlaw the practice. It is the 20th state overall to enact laws.
Conversion therapy is any set of methods or practices that seek to alter a person's gender identity and/or sexuality. Evidence shows that these practices are not only ineffective, but result in depression, and even suicide attempts. Organizations like The Trevor Project, the Human Rights Campaign and Born Perfect, all have fought against the methods which are also opposed by professional associations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, and American Psychological Association.
"As a survivor of this dangerous and fraudulent practice, I can't fathom just how many LGBTQ+ lives may be saved with these critical protections from conversion therapy," Sam Brinton, the head of advocacy and government affairs for The Trevor Project said in a statement after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed the bill into law. "At The Trevor Project, we hear from LGBTQ+ youth in crisis every day and we know that those who are subjected to conversion therapy are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide. This bold action will send a message to all LGBTQ+ young people in the great Commonwealth of Virginia that they are loved and deserve support."
Other states that have banned the practice include Massachusets, Colorado, Maine, and New York, as well as territories like Puerto Rico.