To Whom It May Concern:
Thank you for this opportunity to offer my perspective on this critically important and timely public health issue. As a national certified counselor and LGBTQIA+ advocate/ally, I sincerely and fervently hope that Virginia will join the ranks of states banning conversion therapy.
Conversion therapy has been discredited as an effective means of "therapy". Sadly, it has been shown to have lasting harmful effects. As a counselor, my ethical and first duty is to my clients, to do no harm. Thus, this ban would prevent harm and support ethical, responsible practice statewide for vulnerable youth and marginalized adults. Perhaps this ban could be a step towards decreasing the high rates of suicide in this population. Additionally, it would send a message of support to our neighbors and loved ones, promoting safety and acceptance for all of us.
Personally, it causes me pain to know conversion therapy is continuing to be practiced. I don't think it is often we have the opportunity to pr?event pain and suffering through policy. While I am proud to live in a state that is having this discussion, I hope to be prouder still should it pass. Thank you for this opportunity to be heard.
All the best,