Virginia on Monday became the first state in the South to implement a statewide ban on the discredited “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ minors. The practice, which seeks to change a person’s sexual identity or gender orientation, has been widely condemned for its traumatic and harmful effects on LGBTQ people, especially minors. “Conversion therapy”—which has been invalidated by science—has reportedly been linked to the onset of suicidal thoughts, depression, and addiction. “No one should be made to feel wrong for who they are—especially not a child,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam reportedly said. “Conversion therapy is not only based in discriminatory junk-science, it is dangerous and causes lasting harm to our youth.” Virginia is the 20th state in the country to ban the debunked practice—other states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, and New York. The measure is a long-awaited success for a bill that has been blocked by a Republican-led House or Senate for years, Sen. Scott Surovell (D-VA) said, according to The New York Times.
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