Linda Wall, a conservative independent running for the 59th District House of Delegates seat in Virginia, confirmed Wednesday that she had an affair with a female student when she was a teacher 40 years ago. Wall, who has a record of supporting anti-gay organizations in the state, claims that the incident was a youthful mistake. She told The Associated Press at the time she had “impaired judgment," adding, "You do that out of college sometimes. Some people do, some people don't."
Wall now identifies as 'ex-gay' and attributes the 'change' to her conversion to Christianity years ago.
With stories like this one, it is vital that journalists be mindful of reporting on the supposed notions of 'ex-gay' therapy. The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics and others have all dismissed the idea that being gay is something that needs to be or can be treated. Indeed, they all agree that trying to “treat” an LGBT person or change their identity through counseling, therapy or other means can cause serious harm to both the individual and their family. As a result, GLAAD encourages journalists to avoid exploring these discredited ideas when following up on Linda Wall’s story.
GLAAD also asks their supporters to keep on the look-out for problematic coverage of this story. If you see the media turning this into a larger exploration and validation of these discredited ideas, please report it here.