Senator Mary Seery Kearney urges government to implement conversion therapy ban in Ireland

Minister Roderic O'Gorman reassured the Seanad that the legislation to ban conversion therapy in Ireland is a priority for the government.

Senator Mary Seery Kearney, who urged the government to ban conversion therapy in Ireland.
Image: Via Twitter - @SeeryKearney

On Thursday, September 29, Senator Mary Seery Kearney spoke in front of the Seanad and the Minister for Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman, urging the government to move forward with legislation to ban so-called conversion therapy in the Republic of Ireland.

Earlier in July, Minister Roderic O’Gorman announced that research on conversion therapy was being conducted with the goal of implementing a complete ban in Ireland. However, today conversion therapy is still legal in the country, leaving members of the Irish LGBTQ+ community vulnerable to such practices.

During a Seanad Éireann debate on equality issues, Senator Mary Seery Kearney spoke about the urgency to move forward with the ban, highlighting how research on conversion therapy is already available. “Medical and psychological professionals throughout the world have stated that LGBTI people who experience conversion therapy are almost twice as likely to think about or attempt suicide than their peers who have not experienced conversion therapy,” she said.

Senator Seery Kearney went on to speak about conversion therapy saying that it is “a mindset that denies people’s sexual and gender identity” and “a violent psychological abuse of an individual associated with shame which leads to the consequent statistics on suicidal ideation among members of the community post conversion therapy.”

She condemned such practices, claiming that “Any treatment aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is a shameful application of something that should not be tolerated in any society and particularly in ours.”

Speaking about the government’s plan to bring forward a ban on conversion therapy, she expressed that she was “concerned that while we research, people are actively being abused and undermined in who they are. The psychological damage is ongoing. I am anxious that we very quickly move to define conversion therapy.”

Minister Roderic O’Gorman then took the opportunity to update the House on the progress the government is making towards implementing legislation to ban conversion therapy and to speak about the situation that the LGBTQ+ community is currently facing in Ireland. He acknowledged that, while the country has been at the forefront of advancing LGBTQ+ rights, “challenges remain for members of our LGBTI+ community”.

“We have seen those challenges manifest in the form of attacks on members of that community, physical attacks and attacks online over the course of the last year.” he continued, “This means that members of the LGBTI+ community do not always feel safe in public spaces.”

He then spoke about the government’s awareness of the dangers that conversion therapy practices pose for LGBTQ+ people and that such recognition pushed them to “develop research in order to find and understand exactly where conversion therapy happens in our country, and in what circumstances so that we can design legislation explicitly to address that.”

Minister O’Gorman concluded by saying that he feels it is important to have a clear basis when drafting such legislation and to understand all the forms that conversion therapy practices can take in order to ban it completely.

“I know that people would have liked to see this legislation move more quickly,” he acknowledged. “I do not want anyone to be in any doubt about the fact that this legislation is a priority for me and this Government. We will legislate and pass legislation to ban conversion therapy in this country.”

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.