Virginia State Delegate Patrick Hope has introduced HB 1385, which would prohibit any health care provider from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with any person under 18 years of age. The bill defines “sexual orientation change efforts” as including the provision of treatment, interventions, counseling, or services intended to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expressions, but not including treatment, interventions, counseling, or services provided to persons seeking to transition from one gender to another or that provide acceptance, social support, and identity exploration and development. A number of states have introduced or passed such conversion therapy bans, and courts in California and New Jersey have dismissed lawsuits by therapists who practice this therapy seeking to enjoin the bans.
We reject conversion therapy for gay and lesbian people because it is demonstrably ineffective. We are somewhat concerned that including “gender identity” in these bans will make it more difficult for transgender youth seeking to detransition to access support that they need. To date, the only support detransitioning youth have found is the support they create for themselves on social media and at women’s space.