|Action||Unprofessional conduct - conversion therapy|
|Comment Period||Ends 8/7/2019|
I have been a Virginia public school teacher for 20 years and have made what's best for the children of Virginia my life's work. This guidance will protect youth from so-called “conversion therapy,” a dangerous and discredited practice aimed at changing their sexual orientation or gender identity. These dangerous and discredited practices are 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. 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. These practices are known to be extremely dangerous and can lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, and even suicide attempts. 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. We can’t allow one more young person to be targeted and hurt by these dangerous and discredited practices.