Germany could become the latest country to ban gay conversion therapy after the Government Cabinet approved plans.
The plans extends to banning the practice for all children under 18 as well as vulnerable people with “diminished decision-making capabilities” and non-consenting adults.
However, it will allow for consenting adults to opt into the so-called “treatment.”
The widely discredited practice can see vulnerable people subjected to shock treatments and other cruel tortures.
It promises to “cure” people of being gay, trans and other identities on the sexuality and gender spectrum.
However, the Human Rights Campaign advises the practice is both “dangerous and discredited.”
Under the proposed law, those advertising or doing the practice could face up to a year in jail and fines of €30,000.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn said being gay “is not an illness,” making the use of “therapy” in the title of the practice misleading, adding:
“A ban is also an important sign for all those struggling with their sexuality: it is okay to be as you are.”
The law will now go to the German Parliament.
Germany is the second country to make steps towards legislation to ban the practice this week.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced it would become a priority of his new government after recently winning the Canadian election.
The move by the German cabinet has been widely welcomed by LGBT organizations, including The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth.
Their study of young LGBT people this year showed that those subjected to the therapy are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide:
“We celebrate with Germany as it joins the ever-growing community of nations working to prevent the harms of the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy,” says Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project.
“Thank you to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her important statements that homosexuality is not an illness and her recognition that conversion therapy has no scientific basis. Young Germans will now know that they can live lives free from the dangers of conversion therapy and that is a moment worth celebrating.”
A large majority in the EU parliament called on all member states to ban conversion therapy in March 2018.
However, so far Malta is the only country to have brought in an outright ban. Cyprus, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Switzerland have partial bans, according to AP.
If Germany carries the law forward, it will become only the second country in the EU to have banned it at a national level.
Comparatively in the U.S., it is banned in 18 states.
In the U.K., the previous Conservative government also promised to ban the “abhorrent practice” in a pledge in their LGBT Action plan following the country’s largest-ever survey of LGBT people.
However, neither the LGBT Action Plan or banning the practice was part of the Conservatives’ manifesto.
Speaking to me before the election a Conservative spokesperson refused to confirm the priority of either of the pledges but added: “The LGBT Action plan is still Conservative policy.”
On whether it was time for Boris Johnson to reignite Theresa May’s pledge on the ban, the Trevor Project told me:
“We hope that all nations work to end conversion therapy and save young LGBTQ lives.”
The call follows last week’s call from the UK based LGBT Foundation, adopting Boris Johnsons now infamous Brexit slogan, to “Get Equality Done”
by Jamie Wareham – Diversity & Inclusion
I report on LGBT life, identities and being queer.
Source – Forbes