Today, Virginia Delegate Patrick Hope and Senator Louise Lucas introduced a bill protecting children and their families from the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy, joining a growing number of states and jurisdictions to consider and pass legislation to put an end to the discredited practice. The bill reflects the unanimous view of medical, mental health, and child welfare experts that attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are ineffective and unsafe, putting youth at risk of severe long-term health impacts, including depression, substance abuse, and even suicide.
“Today, more than ever, it is clear that state legislatures need to step up to the plate to protect LGBT youth from the dangerous and discredited practices of conversion therapy,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Staff Attorney and #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator Samantha Ames. “We commend Delegate Hope and Senator Lucas, as well all the local organizers who have worked tirelessly to get this bill introduced and ensure all Virginian children are able to grow up in communities and families where they are loved for exactly who they are.”
Joe Jervis points out that similar laws are in effect in California, New Jersey and neighboring Washington DC.
“Ex-gay” therapy is roundly rejected by all major medical and mental health associations, which state that the practice, sometimes known as “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, is ineffective at best, and can cause great harm to patients.
Many who were among the most prominent spokespeople and apologists for the “ex-gay” movement have recanted their views and expressed deep sorrow for the pain their work caused over the years. Alan Chambers, who ran the now defunct Exodus International, admitted that 99.9% of those he encountered in the movement never changed their sexual orientation. John Paulk, who was once the poster boy for the movement, appearing on the cover of Newsweek in 1998 with his then wife, now is living as an openly gay man, and is doing the hard work of apologizing to those who were hurt by his work. Yvette Cantu Schneider, who was once held prominent roles on the religious right advocating for reparative therapy, recanted her past work and now speaks out as an advocate for LGBT equality.
Indeed, the only public “ex-gays” left seem to be those who are currently making money promulgating the “ex-gay” lifestyle, people like Christopher Doyle, the cartoonish leader of Voice Of The Voiceless. Doyle’s latest embarrassment came recently with his announcement that he was planning to mount a legal challenge to Washington DC’s ban on “ex-gay” therapy, despite the fact that he cannot seem to find a plaintiff who can report being “disenfranchised” by the DC law:
Christopher Doyle, president and co-founder of VoV, told The Christian Post that at present they are seeking a plaintiff to bring a case against the new law.
“We are still seeking a plaintiff (minor and their family) who has been disenfranchised by this law in the District, but at this point, we cannot find a licensed practitioner who even practices SOCE therapy in the District, nor can we identify a client who has been disenfranchised,” said Doyle.
“Our current failure is preventing us from failing harder,” he meant to say.
Truth Wins Out commends the Virginia lawmakers bringing this important bill to their state.
UPDATE: Illinois is also reintroducing the legislation.