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!