Greece bans conversion therapy for minors

The bill also bans advertising the practice, and violations of the new legislation are punishable by fines and prison sentences.

Greece flag, where conversion therapy has been banned for minors.
Image: Pexels

On Wednesday, May 11, Greece officially banned LGBTQ+ conversion therapy for minors. The practice aims to suppress or change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and has been condemned widely by activists, health experts and scientists alike.

The new bill, which was approved by parliament in Greece yesterday, also states that those offering conversion therapy practices must receive a person’s explicit consent to perform the treatment, and the advertisement of such practices is now prohibited. If any professional is found in violation of these new laws, they may face fines and even prison sentences.

Speaking to parliament, health minister Thanos Plevris said, “There were some false treatments that stated that when a minor has chosen a different sexual orientation, his parents could supposedly proceed with ‘treatments’ for this child to ‘return to normality’.”

He continued by stating, “Obviously these treatments not only are not a therapy but they are not supported scientifically.”

Plevris also added that the country is planning to ban surgeries on intersex infants and babies that are born with atypical chromosomes that affect their reproductive anatomy, causing them to differ from the normative definition of male and female organs.

Earlier this year, the health minister was also influential in leading the nation to lift its controversial blood donation ban for men who have sex with men. The introduction of these new measures in the traditionally conservative country comes as the government in Greece is drafting a national strategy running until 2025 that reforms promoting gender equality in the country.

As countries worldwide continue to ban the harmful practice, focus shifts towards the UK where the conversion therapy discourse continues. Most recently, Prince Charles confirmed on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, that the nation’s proposed ban will not cover Trans people or consenting adults. In Ireland, conversion therapy is also still legal, with Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman TD stating in 2021 that “The Programme for Government contains a commitment to legislate to end the practice of conversion therapy, an objective I strongly support.”

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