Germany's Cabinet Approves Ban on “Conversion Therapy”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

18 December 2019

Media Contact: Daina Ruduša, commsteam@outrightinternational.org, +1 (917) 622-1865

Germany's Cabinet Approves Ban on
“Conversion Therapy”

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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Notes to editors:

  • “Conversion therapy” is the most widely used term to describe practices attempting to change, suppress, or divert one’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. It is also called reorientation therapy, reparative therapy, reintegrative therapy, or, more recently, support for unwanted same-sex attraction or transgender identities.

  • OutRight's report found that:

    • The main perpetrators and advocates of "conversion therapy" are people acting in the name of religion or pseudo-healthcare, with LGBTIQ individuals often coerced or pressured by family.
    • A third of the respondents who experienced so-called conversion therapy sought it out themselves.
    • While they may vary due to religious, cultural, or traditional norms and contexts, “conversion therapy” practices never work; instead, they cause deep, lasting trauma.
    • Persistence of “conversion therapy” is directly related to societal beliefs about LGBTIQ people and the degree to which our lives are deemed unacceptable within families, faiths, and societies at large.
  • Only four countries in the world ban conversion therapy: Ecuador, Brazil,Taiwan and Malta

OutRight

Every day around the world, LGBTIQ people’s human rights and dignity are abused in ways that shock the conscience. The stories of their struggles and their resilience are astounding, yet remain unknown—or willfully ignored—by those with the power to make change. OutRight Action International, founded in 1990 as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, works alongside LGBTIQ people in the Global South, with offices in six countries, to help identify community-focused solutions to promote policy for a lasting change. We vigilantly monitor and document human rights abuses to spur action when they occur. We train partners to expose abuses and advocate for themselves. Headquartered in New York City, OutRight is the only global LGBTIQ-specific organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations in New York that advocates for human rights progress for LGBTIQ people.