Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, has confirmed that legislation to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’ in Ireland will be brought before the Cabinet in June. This comes after the politician addressed an LGBT Ireland seminar on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, May 17, discussing the harmful practice.
At the event, Pádraig Rice, Policy and Research Manager at LGBT Ireland, urged the Government to “honour its commitment to introduce a legislative ban on so-called conversion therapy,” as it has been promising to do for some time now. It appears his calls didn’t fall on deaf ears, with O’Gorman announcing the welcome news shortly after.
Emphasising the urgency of the ban, LGBT Ireland highlighted a report commissioned by the Government and published by Trinity College Dublin (TCD) earlier this year. It states that “Considerable research has largely concluded that sexual orientation change efforts are pseudo-scientific, ineffective, and harmful to the individual”.
Research participants used words like “traumatising”, “destructive”, “anxiety provoking”, “horrendous”, “harmful” and “damaging” to describe the psychological effect conversion practices had on them, with one person saying, “It left me with trauma, from which I am still attempting to heal, it destroyed my self-worth, my sense of self and my health”.
The report found that so-called conversion therapy not only places individuals under severe mental strain but that the practice is also associated with distress, forced isolation, depression and suicidal behaviour.
“Legislation to ban conversion therapy will also support safety and health by ensuring that those who experience distress about their sexual orientation or gender identity because of homophobia or transphobia are unable to access formal conversion practices which have the potential to cause further harm,” the report further notes.
While Rice welcomed the Prohibition of Conversion Practices being “included as a priority item in the Government’s latest legislative programme,” he also stressed how important it is for the LGBTQ+ community that the Government acts on their declared goal.
“What we need now is a clear timeline for enactment. This can’t be left drag on. Conversion practices are harmful, dangerous and should be outlawed,” he said.
Highlighting that other countries have already outlawed conversion therapy, LGBT Ireland urged the Irish Government to act upon the recommendation of the report to ban conversion practices through legislation immediately.
— Roderic O’Gorman TD (@rodericogorman) May 18, 2023
Pádraig Rice stated that: “We cannot allow such deeply damaging practices to continue in Ireland, and we look forward to the Government taking swift action to ensure the legislation is now enacted.”
He added, “Eleven countries have already introduced nationwide bans, including Spain, France, Germany, New Zealand and Canada. Ireland should be next on that list.”
In response to O’Gorman’s confirmation of the legislation to ban conversion therapy being brought to Cabinet next month, LGBT Ireland said it was “delighted”, adding, “We look forward to working with the Government to ensure a water-tight ban is introduced as quickly as possible.”
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