Virginia Bans Conversion Therapy For LGBTQ Minors

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Virginia Bans Conversion Therapy For LGBTQ Minors
The ban for minors had been blocked by Republican-controlled chambers, but Virginia Democrats took control of both the House and Senate this year.
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Virginia has banned licensed professionals from performing conversion therapy on LGBTQ minors. It's the first southern state to do so.

Conversion therapy aims to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, and has been linked to depression and suicidal thoughts.

House Bill 386 passed the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year. Gov. Ralph Northam, who is a pediatric neurologist, signed it Monday. Virginia is the 20th state to ban conversion therapy.

Northam said in a statement, "No one should be made to feel they are not okay the way they are — especially not a child."

Conversion therapy bans had previously been blocked in Virginia by Republican-majority chambers. The bill's fate changed this year when Democrats took over the state's House and Senate. It's the first time Virginia Democrats have held a majority in both chambers since 1996.

The law will take effect July 1. It will not impact adults who want conversion therapy for themselves.