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Virginia Senate passes bills impacting LGBTQ, transgender communities

Banning conversion therapy for anyone under 18. Creating school policies to keep transgender students safe. These are just a couple of bills that were advanced.

RICHMOND, Va. — State Senate lawmakers advanced a few pieces of legislation that reshape how LGBTQ communities are treated in Virginia.

Senate Bill 245 forbids anyone under the age of 18 to undergo conversion therapy from any licensed professional or someone training to be in a health profession.

The measure also prohibits the use of state funds for any part of conversion therapy practice or extending health benefits to cover the procedure.

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SB 657 allows the State Registrar to issue new birth certificates to show a change of sex as well as new names. Any individual who would like a name change to be documented has to get a certified court order. 

In order to get a new birth certificate that shows a change of sex, an individual may have to get an affidavit provided by a health care provider that states the individual has undergone clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of gender transition. No specific evidence or documentation of any procedure will be necessary.

Another measure that was advanced requires the Department of Education to create model guidelines concerning the treatment of transgender students.

SB 161 would order the department to create standards that must comply with non-discrimination laws, maintain a safe and supportive learning environment free from distraction and harassment, prevent and respond to bullying and harassment and make sure student privacy is maintained. Also, the department must create appropriate sex-based dress codes.

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All of these guidelines must be made available to each state division school board no later than Dec. 31, 2020.

Senate Bill 17 orders the removal of language from the state code that cites a same-sex marriage ban.

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