Why are LGBTQ people still being subjected to conversion therapy?

We know the harm it causes but few governments have been willing to ban the practice.

Why are LGBTQ people still being subjected to conversion therapy?

It is well documented that there’s no such thing as Conversion Therapy.

Any process that purports to be able to change someone’s sexuality from one thing to another is emotional and psychological abuse dressed up in the language of therapy, counselling, and religion.

Any attempt at ‘conversion’ of sexuality is particularly damaging for young people.

The practice described as Conversion Therapy has been banned in a number of countries around the world, but an alarming number of queer people are still subjected to this form of abuse.

What is conversion therapy?

Conversion therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological, physical, or spiritual interventions.

Historically, the techniques used in conversion therapy have been horrific – lobotomies, chemical castration, electro-shock aversion treatment.

Today, organisations offering conversion therapy are generally suggesting counselling, visualisation, social skills training, psychoanalytic therapy, and spiritual interventions such as prayer and group support.

There isn’t any form of conversion therapy that can change someone’s sexuality. It’s based on the false premise that a sexuality that is not heterosexual is somehow deficient or abnormal.

Which countries have banned conversion therapy?

Based on the information available at the time of writing, fifteen countries have bans on conversion therapy.

There are variations in the bans that are in place.

  • Canada, Ecuador, France, Germany, and Malta prohibit any person from subjecting someone to conversion therapy.
  • Brazil, India, and Taiwan prohibit medical professionals from subjecting someone to conversion therapy.
  • Argentina, Chile, Fiji, Nauru, Samoa, Switzerland, and Uruguay have indirect bans in that diagnoses based solely on sexual orientation or gender identity are banned without specifically banning conversion therapy - this effectively amounts to a ban on health professionals since they would not generally engage in therapy without a diagnosis.
  • In countries such as the United States and Australia, there are some bans in place at the state level, but there isn't a consistent national approach.

How can I help to ban conversion therapy?

  • Find out what the law is where you are.
  • Search for community organisations that are advocating for bans on conversion therapy.
  • Add your voice and your resources to campaigns to ban conversion therapy – both at a local and a global level.

We need action, not excuses and delays.

We need to protect queer kids.

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