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Virginia first Southern state to ban conversion therapy

So called 'conversion therapy' for LGBTQ minors has been banned in Virginia, making it the 20th state to do so.

Legislation was signed by Democratic Governor Ralph Northam on Tuesday barring the widely condemned practice which seeks to "change" a persons sexuality or gender identity.

Northam who is also a pediatric neurologist said "Conversion therapy is not only based on discriminatory junk-science, it is dangerous and causes lasting harm to our youth".

Virginia's Democrat-controlled state legislature passed the bill last month after it had been blocked for years when Republicans controlled at least one chamber.

The American Psychological Association have been campaigning against conversion therapy since 1998 citing "no credible evidence" that it could change sexual orientation or gender identity.

The ban will take effect on July 1st though it will not apply to adults who seek the therapy themselves.

Sam Brinton from advocacy group The Trevor Project said the practice can cause depression and suicidal thoughts in LGBTQ young people.

In a statement Brinton added: "“This bold action will send a message to all LGBTQ young people in the great Commonwealth of Virginia that they are loved and deserve support."

“Conversion therapy has no place in modern society and...we are happy to sweep conversion therapy into the dustbin of history.”

The other 19 states which have banned the practice are...

California (2012) New Jersey (2013) Oregon (2015) Illinois (2015) Vermont (2016) Rhode Island (2017) New Mexico (2017) Connecticut (2017) Nevada (2017) Washington (2018) Maryland (2018) Hawaii (2018) New Hampshire (2018) Delaware (2018) New York (2019) Massachusetts (2019), Colorado (2019), Maine (2019) and Utah (2020).

Meanwhile in Germany a bill to ban the advertising and offering of conversion therapy to LGBTQ people was approved last year.

If the bill passes Germany will join Australia, Malta, Ecuador, Brazil, Spain, China, and Taiwan and become only the eighth country in the World to ban conversion therapy.

Moves have also started in Canada and the United Kingdom to implement a ban.

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