Virginia joined a growing list of states that have prohibited the practice of conversion therapy on minors.
On March 3, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill into law making it illegal for licensed medical professionals to engage in the practice of conversion therapy on individuals under the age of 18.
Virginia is the first southern state to enact conversion therapy regulations. Widely discredited by the medical community, conversion therapy is the practice of attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation from gay to straight with the premise being gay is a mental illness.
“No one should be made to feel wrong for who they are — especially not a child,” Northam said in a prepared statement. “Conversion therapy is not only based in discriminatory junk-science, it is dangerous and causes lasting harm to our youth.”
Twenty U.S. states and Puerto Rico have now banned conversion therapy.
In Florida, three counties and 18 cities have conversion therapy bans.