Homosexuality is not a disease. For a long time, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder that had to be treated. Today, however, psychologists agrees that homosexuality is not a disease and that pseudoscientific attempts at “treatment” can be profoundly damaging. Nevertheless, many religious groups continue to use so-called “conversion therapies” because same-sex relationships contradict their worldview. They want to change the orientation of LGBT people to heterosexuality.

In May 2020, Germany banned conversion therapy for minors. Although Germany hasn’t exactly been a pioneer when it comes to LGBT rights, the country is now one of only two EU Member States (the other being Malta) to prohibit conversion therapy. Should other European countries also follow their lead?

Experts warn of the harmful consequences of these so-called “cures”. The World Medical Association has ruled that conversion therapies are a violation of human rights. To be clear: there is no credible scientific evidence that conversion therapies can actually change a person’s sexuality. There is, however, plenty of evidence of how harmful these “therapies” can be, including increased risk of depression, anxiety disorders, and even suicide. Shouldn’t these so-called therapies be banned across the European Union?

What do our readers think? We had a comment come in from Jovan, who is in favour of an EU-wide ban on conversion therapies as they have been proven to be dangerous.

To get a reaction, we put Jovan’s comment to Cianán Russell, Senior Policy Officer at ILGA Europe, an organisation advocating to “end the social and legal discrimination which LGBTI people face”. What would they say?

We also put the same comment to MEP Marc Angel from Luxembourg, chair of the interparliamentary group for LGBT rights. Does he favour a Europe-wide ban?

The Member States decide on their national legislation when it comes to health issues. However, this is not about health issues, since homosexuality is not a disease. It cannot and should not be ‘cured’. It is absolutely important to ban conversion therapies where they still exist, because this is about fundamental human rights and discrimination.

This is not only the responsibility of the Member States, but also of the European Union and the Commission. If we fight to ban these so-called therapies, we will be fighting discrimination. That is why I was very happy about the election of the new EU Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli. She has already campaigned for LGBT rights in her country as a Maltese politician, and Malta today tops many rankings on equality.

Should conversion therapy be banned across the EU? Should more countries follow the lead of Malta and Germany? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: Bigstock © motortion; PORTRAIT CREDITS: Wikipedia (cc) Jwh


48 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Desto

    Yes. It should be natural to those who are, converting people to be it.

  2. avatar
    Andrie

    I’m actually shocked it’s not banned! I mean, I’ve always thought this was something that takes place in backward societies, not in democratic, secular states, and I wouldn’t like to place European countries in the “backward societies” category. There should be free family therapy instead, in case someone comes from a family with backward ideas…

  3. avatar
    Stelios

    “Therapy” implies a sickness. In this case there is no sickness, so any type of therapy is simple out of context.

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      Because at the moment Germany and Malta are the only two EU-countries that have prohibited “conversion therapy”. Do you think it should be banned across the EU?

    • avatar
      Jonathan

      Of course it should be banned, but this is not an EU competence. Maybe that should be the focus of your discussion.

    • avatar
      Jevgeni

      of course it shall be banned, this should not be even questioned ! And I would like to see EU Commision playing bigger role here.

    • avatar
      Judith

      @Jevgeni exactly

    • avatar
      Paulo

      I might be wrong but i think they talked/voted about it in Portuguese parliement. And by almost total majority was refused. Remaining illegal. So no need to ban.

  4. avatar
    Isabelle

    No ! It is not Europe which should take this decision for all the countries, but all the European countries should take the decision for Europe ? Do you understand the difference ?

  5. avatar
    Христо

    Therapies doesn’t work because these people are born that way. It’s not a choice. But homophobia is a choice.

  6. avatar
    Michael

    It is imperative to ban such things being forced on children by their parents or on dependants by their caretakers, of course.
    As for what adults choose to do with their time, that is up to them, so long as the torture conventions are not being violated adults should be free to do as they like.

  7. avatar
    Evans

    How can this be a debate theme, seriously Debating Europe? Let me translate this shit for you and see what you’re really asking “Should literal torture, and many times so called corrective rape, be allowed in Europe?”
    Shall we pose comparable questions about other demographics or would that suddenly make it wrong?

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      Hello Evans! When reading the article you can certainly notice that we are not arguing in favour of conversion therapy and we are presenting voices of experts who are strongly against it. Our question is whether the EU should take action in this regard, if this should be left to member states, and why. What is your own opinion on this matter?

    • avatar
      Evans

      Never said you were arguing in favour of it, I’m downright questioning how you think it’s appropriate to act like it’s a subject that can and should be up for debate and thus normalised when it involves literal torture and rape based on an inherent trait that is sexuality. Shall we next debate if violent racism should be outlawed or left to states to decide? How about we debate spousal abuse, rape and torture in general, be it for forced religious conversion of certain demographics or for any other reason, sound good?

    • avatar
      Liudvikas

      Give me one reason why would you ban it?

    • avatar
      Evans

      I need to give a reason to ban torture and rape other than, you know, it being torture and rape, especially for an inherent and unchangeable trait?
      Give me one reason why torture and rape to change people’s ethnicity or height should be banned.

    • avatar
      Michael

      Say my child becomes a Christian and I don’t like it, so I send them to a conversion camp to become an atheist. Seem okay by you? Yeah, that’s why you would ban it – it’s brainwashing, and not even the subtle kind. The full on Stalinist gulag kind.

    • avatar
      Luis

      just asking the question is ridiculous. Would you be ok if someone sold bleach as “pure orange juice” and government and health authorities didn’t step in to ban it? So called “conversion therapies” are harmful psychological torture and a fraud. Why should them be allowed?

    • avatar
      Liudvikas

      the difference between atheist conversion camp and that therapy is that the therapy is objectively good while atheism is objectively bad. What you said about that gulag style shows how brainwashed you believe me gulag is way way way different than therapy. And I am curious why can parents decide to let children to the kindergarten where drag queens traumatize children and brainwash them?

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      The “therapy” that you describe as “objectively good” is classified by medical experts as unscientific and as a violation of human rights.

    • avatar
      Michael

      You said it. The bottom line is not about whether we should have a right to this kind of “therapy”, as you yourself reject it if it is used to impose ideas, such as atheism, with which you subjectively disagree – or as you prefer to say, which are “objectively bad”.
      The bottom line is that you do not like gay people and you want to impose your ideas on others by means you admit you would never accept to have other people’s ideas imposed upon you. It’s absolutely hypocritical and dictatorial.

    • avatar
      Luis

      Not only did I say anything about camps and gulags . I can’t have a serious, adult discussion with someone who claims “atheism is objectively bad”, WTF and then goes on about drag queens “traumatizing” children. That’s not only an offtopic here, but also a long time favourite of right wing zealots.
      I don’t really have time for your nonsense.

  8. avatar
    Constantina

    Isn’t this something for the experts to decide? And I don’t mean policy or law experts, I am talking about medical experts. How can I have an opinion of what these people really need? I want them to have any tool or support available but I can’t decide what is good or bad!

    • avatar
      Luis

      experts have spoken a long while ago. Only religious bigots support “therapies” that not only do not work. They are harmful psychological torture and a fraud.

    • avatar
      Constantina

      So what’s the point on discussing it? This has nothing to do with religion! Unless the person itself is so religious that is looking for answers through it. In this case shouldn’t this be his/her choice? I’m sorry, I haven’t been following this topic and don’t really know all the aspects of it.

    • avatar
      Luis

      there is a point in discussing it because it is not yet banned in most countries. And despite science having clearly spoken against those so called “therapies”, religious zealots and right wing politicians still support them. So yes, it shouldn’t be like that but religion has much to do with it.

    • avatar
      Constantina

      I get your point. I am just wondering is this something we should be discussing or is it as obvious as the question “should humans have rights”? It puzzles me that religion or any other institution or political parties should have a say about this. To my understanding this is an issue to be answered only by Health Specialists. On the other hand I stay open in the idea of regulating those processes with certain standards. It wouldn’t be bad to have the option to have support even if it comes from an institution such as the church as long as they are based on certain scientific-social standards and processes.

    • avatar
      Gerhard

      or is it as obvious as the question “should humans have rights”?”
      Yep, it pretty much is.

  9. avatar
    Gabor

    This is not a real question! Of course have we to do that. Think about, how would be the political situation if we would make a turn and would say “we have to convert the homosexual adults to heteros with therapies”. Every responsible person would protest immediately against! If this question so easy to answer than so yours can’t be a real too. This is just a conciously used fake message for to manipulating, misleading the attentions of the people’s and them selfes. Chicken feedings.
    The real problem that “Europe” avoid every responsibility to make any real politic. The political leading and the whole system totally dilettant, irresponsible, unable, incompetent and inaceptable. I hope, it’s well to see how harmful this entire thematic and the type of communication into someones make such fake and untruth questions. You make many and permanently one of them! Yours is a useable and suitable technik to avoid and make real popular questions with silence to death the real problems with we all daily have to do struggling ourself. Migration and human rights, european federation & integration, wars & military dominancy, overheated raid capitalism & taxating the multies, human rights, democracy & rightstaats, ecology and economy, market and fair competition, school and education, energetics politic and animal right, food and agrar, health systems and evolution, science and innovation, common diplomacy & politic between partners and other staates, medie & free speach, federation, globalism & future of our continents, etc many more. But what do you do!? Lie permanently the same lies here too like the rules to plan to ban the rubber bullets in ’23. Immagination and cheats what you do! Immitation of the politics. Your time it’s running! Tick…tick…tock…booom!
    You do that harm conciously and with plan. You all are very malignant and living in a fake world. A very dangerous game what you’re playing here!

  10. avatar
    Blagovest

    My answer is “No” they should not be banned, yet attending one should be strictly matter of personal choice, and forcing a person into one should be prosecuted.

    • avatar
      Jan

      Your answer is short, reasonable and still upholds people’s freedom of choice…
      People can choose to go to this type of therapy for whatever reason they themself decide, but not forced to attend.

  11. avatar
    Arnout

    Should? Odd debates. Ofc. Asking this questions imo accepts the fact of hate.

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      Because at the moment Germany and Malta are the only two EU-countries that have prohibited “conversion therapy”. Do you think it should be banned across the EU?

    • avatar
      Sérgio

      I don’t even know where to start…I am sorry but there are things which, due to their basic human rights nature, should not be a matter of debate! Would you ask the audience “Should female genital mutilation be banned” ?!?

  12. avatar
    Paulo

    Yes. Should not even be considered.

  13. avatar
    Julia

    Banning violates freedom of choice. Coercion violates freedom of choice. People have a right to choose for themselves whether it be sugar, vaccines, BDSM or conversion therapy. If one personal choice is banned all personal choices will eventually be banned by self-appointed judges of what humanity can and can’t choose to do and nobody will be free to choose for themselves anymore.

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      In many cases “conversion therapies” are forced upon teenagers or young adults by their parents or other institutions, though. Surely these cases do not constitute a freedom of choice for the participants?

    • avatar
      Paulo

      this is refering to under age people.

    • avatar
      Julia

      Thank you for informing me as I saw no link to this info. No coercion must be involved. It must be a free-will choice as a consenting adult.

  14. avatar
    Paulo

    The laws already exist, it is just an issue of enforcement of them and of achieving consensus. Why make legislation unnecessarily more verbose and complicated?

  15. avatar
    Stella

    Look at all the people de-transitioning first of all.
    Most people going through teens get past that “desire”.
    In one study,
    More than 50% of trans males try to commit suicide
    More than 30% of trans females try to commit suicide
    Many have family trauma – 40 % are depressed before transition
    Then around 40% still are depressed afterwards – thus is it really effective or not?
    In the past, psychologist helped these people in a non bias way, now it is so called “hate speech”.
    When in reality, some boys had a missing mother, so they had to become mommy to be safe.
    Or some boys had a mother that didn’t give her space to be feminine, so she acted like a boy.
    Getting to the root of many of the people’s issues is way more effective than automatically saying, OK! lets transition – its your human right… take time to help these individuals..

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      Hi Stella, I think you may have misunderstood what this debate is about. We are discussing the ban of so-called “conversion therapies”, which is the unscientific practice of attempting to change somebody’s sexual orientation (for example from homosexual to heterosexual). You seem to be talking about the process of transitioning that (some) transgender people go through in order to match their gender presentation to their own gender identity.

  16. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    Should conversion therapy be banned?

    This is something so many people are very confused about and why has it become such a hot topic and fashionable to discuss the rights and wrongs of the most intimate feelings of human beings. Especially when it is so often devastating when it becomes lawful/unlawful, expected/unexpected, right/wrong.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1miVuv8_SkM

    And then you must look into the future of interfering in the emotional lives of the citizen.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4dZboRftOA

    Stella,

    I think you have a good point. Well worth discussing.

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