Conversion TherapyOnly four countries in the world ban conversion therapy: Ecuador, Brazil,Taiwan and Malta

On Wednesday, December 18, the Cabinet of Germany – the country’s chief executive body consisting of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the cabinet of ministers – approved a draft bill banning advertising and offering of “conversion therapy” practices to change, suppress, or divert one’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

The proposed bill will outlaw advertising or offering “conversion therapy”, prescribing a monetary penalty of €30,000 for infringement. Prior to approving the bill, the Cabinet expanded its reach to include banning the practice on 16 – 18 year olds as well as younger minors.

The bill will now pass to Parliament for voting. If passed by both houses of parliament, Germany will join Malta, Ecuador, Brazil, and Taiwan to become only the 5th country in the world to ban “conversion therapy”.

In August 2019, OutRight Action International released the report “Harmful Treatment. The Global Reach of So-Called Conversion Therapy”, showing that, while such practices vary across religious, cultural, or traditional contexts and range in their forms of psychological and physical violence, they are prevalent in countries across the globe. They have been condemned by many major psychological, psychiatric, and medical associations, including the World Psychiatric Association, and recognized to not only never achieve their intended outcome, but to instead cause deep, lasting trauma.

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, comments:

“It is incredibly encouraging to see the Cabinet of Germany taking this step towards banning ‘conversion therapy’ practices, sending a powerful message that LGBTIQ people are not in need of change or cure. Demand for “conversion therapy” will decrease only if acceptance of LGBTIQ lives grows. As such, legal efforts to tackle “conversion therapy” have to go hand in hand with measures designed to promote understanding and inclusion of LGBTIQ people. Germany is heading in this direction, and I hope to see other countries follow suit!”

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