Sexual orientation change efforts; prohibited as training for certain health care providers, etc. (HB363)

Introduced By

Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) with support from co-patron Del. Betsy Carr (D-Richmond)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Sexual orientation change efforts prohibited. Prohibits any health care provider or person who performs counseling as part of his training for any profession licensed by a regulatory board of the Department of Health Professions from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with any person under 18 years of age. The bill defines "sexual orientation change efforts" as any practice or treatment that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender. "Sexual orientation change efforts" does not include counseling that provides assistance to a person undergoing gender transition or counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person or facilitates a person's coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual-orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, as long as such counseling does not seek to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill provides that no state funds shall be expended for the purpose of conducting sexual orientation change efforts, referring a person for sexual orientation change efforts, extending health benefits coverage for sexual orientation change efforts, or awarding a grant or contract to any entity that conducts sexual orientation change efforts or refers individuals for sexual orientation change efforts. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/05/2018Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/18 18100457D
01/05/2018Referred to Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions
01/25/2018Assigned HWI sub: Subcommittee #3
01/25/2018Impact statement from VDH (HB363)
02/02/2018Subcommittee recommends passing by indefinitely (4-Y 2-N)
02/13/2018Left in Health, Welfare and Institutions


ACLU-VA LGBT Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia supports this legislation that protects minors under 18 from being forced to undergo so-called "conversion therapy" to change them from LGBTQ to "straight."

Rachel Gatwood writes:

Seems reasonable. Trying to change a kid's orientation or gender identity is cruel and not advised by experts. See also SB245.

Lauren K. writes:

Let me tell you about my friend who grew up in the same fundamentalist, evangelical cult as I did. We will call him "J."

As a small boy, J preferred the sparkly dime store heels to the GI Joes or Hot Wheels. J's parents knew "something wasn't right" and when he became a teen, they sought the advice of local ministers in our church, who had J spirited away, hood over his head in the back of a van, to something called a "gay conversion therapy camp."

J has written about his experiences in an autobiography (available on Amazon). He was kept in a stacked cage, similar to the dog crates stacked in kennels. There was no bathroom. He was given a jumpsuit that snapped open in the front...and the back. He was raped. He was tortured. He was told that the only way to "drive the demon" (of homosexuality) out of him was through pain -- and through associating pain with homosexual experiences. The nice people who ran the camp provided the homosexual experiences to go along with the pain. And there was *a lot* of pain. J's fingernails and toenails have never grown back.

And in the end? Yep. Still what he had always been. Gay. But also terribly damaged.

Before I heard J tell his story, I wasn't familiar with gay conversion therapy, except in the most theoretical sense. Having heard him describe his experience, the very words "gay conversion therapy" strike terror in my heart for those who are abducted to these secret facilities. These "camps" must be made illegal in America. They are worse than inhuman, and those who run them should be rounded up and prosecuted, but the government turns a blind eye because..."religious liberty."