House bill would ban conversion therapy for minors - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

House bill would ban conversion therapy for minors

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Local gay advocates are trying to ban a therapy that claims to change your sexual orientation.

It's called conversion therapy or reparative therapy and right now, there's a bill in the General Assembly that aims to ban licensed clinicians from providing this treatment to minors.

House bill 1135 bans any health care provider from "engaging in sexual orientation change efforts" with a minor.

Apryl Prentiss is speaking on behalf of the bill when state lawmakers review it later this month. Prentiss was in college when she sought therapy to change her sexual orientation.

"As I Christian I didn't think it was OK to be gay and Christian so that was the pressure that sent me into conversion therapy," said Prentiss.

After two years of praying and fasting Prentiss says, her feelings towards women hadn't changed. She says, her therapist eventually ended up performing an exorcism on Prentiss.

Prentiss says conversion therapy was both traumatic and ineffective but John Linder, Jr. says his experience was different.

Linder says, he struggles with same-sex attraction but through reparative therapy he's now happily married.

"I'm pretty sure if that it weren't for the therapy I received I wouldn't be married today. Reparative therapy helped me find out who I really was," said Linder. "It would be a real shame for the teenagers in Virginia if this bill passed because it would take away their sense of self-determination."

Prentiss hopes it passes so that minors in Virginia are protected from the therapy she saw as traumatic.

It's important to note the bill would only ban licensed clinicians from treating homosexuality it would not apply to religious institutions.

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