This morning, June 20, Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman updated the Cabinet on the Prohibition of Conversion Practices Bill which, if made into law, will ban so-called “conversion therapy” targeting LGBTQ+ people in Ireland. The Cabinet is set to review the legislation in the coming weeks, with LGBTQ+ campaigners welcoming progress towards outlawing these harmful practices.
The Prohibition of Conversion Practices Bill is listed as priority legislation in the Government’s Legislative Programme for Summer 2023 and, if passed, it will criminalise so-called “conversion therapy” practices, related to attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill will also include safeguards protecting medical professionals who support people questioning their identities.
Commenting on Ireland’s commitment to passing a conversion therapy ban, CEO of LGBT Ireland, Paula Fagan, said: “I welcome the news that the Cabinet will today consider a memo from the Department of Equality on the banning of conversion practices in Ireland. This is a timely announcement as we are currently celebrating Pride month, and the Dublin Pride parade is due to take place this weekend.”
— LGBT Ireland (@LGBT_ie) June 16, 2023
Earlier this year, LGBT Ireland highlighted a report commissioned by the Government and published by Trinity College Dublin, which states that “Considerable research has largely concluded that sexual orientation change efforts are pseudo-scientific, ineffective, and harmful to the individual”.
Research participants described the psychological effect of conversion therapy practices as: “traumatising”, “destructive”, “anxiety-provoking”, “horrendous”, “harmful”, and “damaging”. The Minister has previously described conversion therapy as: “a cruel process rooted in the promotion of shame”.
Speaking of the report, Paula Fagan said: “We cannot allow such deeply damaging practices to continue in Ireland, and we look forward to the Government taking swift follow-up action to ensure the legislation is now published, introduced, debated and enacted as a matter of urgency.”
Belong To strongly welcomes Minister O’Gorman’s announcement today that the Prohibition of Conversion Practices Bill will be brought to Cabinet for consideration in the coming weeks.
Belong To strongly welcomes Minister @rodericogorman‘s announcement that dangerous, discredited and unethical conversion practices will be made illegal.
We don’t need a cure.
— Belong To (@Belong_To) June 20, 2023
A law banning conversion practices is particularly important for LGBTQ+ youth aged under 18 since Under the Mental Health Act, youth do not have the right to refuse conversion practices once their parent has consented.
Moninne Griffith (she/her), CEO of Belong To, said: “We welcome the important announcement made by Minister O’Gorman today, and commend the work of his Department on developing legislation to ban conversion practices. Banning conversion practices not only protects those at risk of these harmful practices, but also sends a strong message – we don’t need a cure.”
While conversion therapy has widely been discredited, these ineffective and harmful practices continue to be inflicted on young LGBTQ+ people, typically by faith-based “therapists” who want to force LGBTQ+ people to change their identities. These processes exacerbate internalised homophobia and transphobia and use guilt and shame to inflict harm.
As a centre and a tribe of queer therapists & allies who provide a LGBTQI+ affirming therapy we are passionate to bring an end to the dangerous practices of conversion therapy in Ireland. https://t.co/g89JrMySa1
— Insight Matters (@Insight_Matters) June 16, 2023
Legislation banning conversion therapy has been an ongoing priority for the Irish Government. Earlier this year, O’Gorman commented on the bill’s progress, saying: “Obviously, legislation takes time, but I think it’s possible we could have it passed by the end of the year.”
If the bill is made into law, Ireland will join other countries such as Spain, France, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, and Iceland, which have already introduced nationwide bans on so-called conversion therapy practices.
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