Twofold Support of this Document
To the Virginia Board of Social Work:
I support this guidance document as both an individual and as part of an organization.
As an individual, I have some really painful memories from my time as an ex-gay. An ex-gay is an individual who, instead of identifying as gay, identifies as struggling with same-sex attraction, believing that one can heal from homosexuality. These attractions did not go away, but my enjoyment of life and self-confidence did. Instead of learning to love myself, I only learned to resent my parents as I was taught that my mother was overbearing and that my father was emotionally absent. This was taught to me as a “root cause” of me “developing same-sex attractions.” As someone who was personally impacted by efforts to "heal from homosexuality," also known as sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), or conversion therapy, I express a heartfelt thank you for defining it for what it is.
I also support this document on behalf of Born Perfect as Virginia's Born Perfect Ambassador. Born Perfect was created in 2014 by the National Center for Lesbian Rights to end conversion therapy. Few practices hurt LGBT youth more than attempts to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through conversion therapy, which can cause depression, substance abuse, and even suicide. But some mental health providers continue to subject young LGBT people to these practices—also known as “reparative therapy,” “ex-gay therapy,” or “sexual orientation change efforts”—even though they have been condemned by every major medical and mental health organization in the country. This guidance document is a fantastic step in the right direction.