So-called “conversion therapy” is a dangerous and discredited practice based on the false claim that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) is a mental illness that needs to be cured—a view with no scientific basis. These practices are known to be extremely dangerous and can lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, and even suicide attempts.
This guidance protects young people from state-licensed therapists in Virginia who falsely claim to parents and youth that being LGBTQ is a mental illness, and therefore taking advantage of parents and harming vulnerable youth. These harmful practices use rejection, shame, and psychological abuse to force young people to try and change who they are. No young person should ever be shamed by a mental health professional into thinking that who they are is wrong. Mental health professionals should provide care that is ethical and affirming for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young people.