I support this Guidance Document
Religious based homophobia cannot replace sound science. As an Assistant State Director for American Atheists here in Virginia, and as an organizer of SEVASH (Southeastern Virginia Atheists, Skeptics, & Humanists), and as a friend/ally to LGBTQ+ people in general, I oppose all legislation designed to destroy the personhood and individuality of anyone, young people included. It is hard enough for these children because they are bullied, harassed, or even worse. We need to support our children, not teach them that who they are is wrong. Conversion therapy is shameful quackery that tries to turn gay kids straight, usually at their parent’s insistence. This only serves to cause trauma, which in turn will cause further damage, and could even trigger mental illness. It is time that we ban this barbaric practice which has only been shown to be detrimental and harmful to our youth, and is of no practical benefit whatsoever.
There is no credible evidence that any type of psychotherapy can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. In fact, conversion therapy poses critical health risks to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer young people, including depression, shame, decreased self-esteem, social withdrawal, substance abuse, risky behavior, and even suicide. Nearly all the nation’s leading mental health associations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy have examined conversion therapy and issued cautionary position statements on these practices.
We must stop with this religious based homophobia and allow kids to be themselves, raised with love and support for who they are, showing them that they matter, and not try to convince them that they are something they are not, or bad or sinful just to be themselves. To try and force them to be something they're not is torture, plain and simple.