Virginia has become the first US state in the south to ban conversion therapy for minors

The bill will take effect on July 1


Words: Steve Brown

Virginia has become the first state in the south to ban ‘conversion therapy’ for minors.

On Tuesday (March 3), Democratic Governor Ralph Northam signed the new legislation barring the archaic, widely discredited practice.

In a statement, Northam said: “The issue is personal for me, as paediatric neurologist who has cared for thousands of children.

“Conversion therapy is not only based in discriminatory junk-science, it is dangerous and causes lasting harm to our youth.

“No one should be made to feel wrong for who they are – especially not a child.”

The bill was passed last month after it was blocked for years when the Republicans had control of at least one chamber.

By introducing the bill, Virginia has become the 20th US state to ban the practice and the first ever in the south, the New York Post reported.

The ban will take effect on July 1 but will to apply to adults who seek the therapy themselves.

Sam Brinton, the head of advocacy at the nonprofit The Trevor Project, said: “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.

“Conversion therapy has no place in modern society and … we are happy to sweep conversion therapy into the dustbin of history.”