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Protect Virginia Children from Dangerous Conversion Therapy

The Virginia Board of Social Work is considering new rules that would prevent social workers from engaging in dangerous and discredited conversion therapy. Unfortunately, however, the Board is facing opposition from the Virginia Catholic Conference and other religious groups.

Please help American Atheists support these important protections for young people.

Tell the Board of Social Work to pass rules preventing licensed social workers from engaging in conversion therapy!

Conversion therapy consists of harmful and discredited practices intended to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Of course it doesn’t work because being LGBTQ is not an illness, and it can’t be “cured.”

The National Association of Social Workers and every significant medical and mental health professional organization agree that conversion therapy is harmful and never therapeutically appropriate for minors.

Here are several talking points to help you make your comment:

  • Please pass this important guidance to protect young people in Virginia from so-called “conversion therapy,” a dangerous and discredited practice that falsely claims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • These dangerous and discredited practices are based on the false claim that being 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 take advantage of parents and harm vulnerable youth by claiming that being LGBTQ is a mental illness.
  • 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 LGBTQ young people.
  • We can’t allow one more young person to be targeted and hurt by these harmful practices.

Please tell the Virginia Board of Social Work that you support efforts to protect youth from conversion therapy!