Metro Weekly

France votes to ban conversion therapy, jail those who practice it

France's equality minister celebrated the vote, calling conversion therapy an attack on human integrity

Conversion therapy, France
Pride in Marseille, France — Photo by Tristan B. on Unsplash

France will likely soon join a growing list of countries which have opted to ban anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy.

The widely debunked practice, which can talk the form of talk therapy or more extreme measures such as electroshock therapy, falsely claims to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity.

France’s parliament last month voted in favor of a bill mandating a prison sentence of up to two years and a fine of up to 30,000 euros ($34,000) for those convicted of practicing conversion therapy, Euronews reports.

Last week, France’s Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill — with 305 of the chamber’s 348 members voting in favor of the ban.

The legislation now heads to the desk of President Emmanuel Macron, who will likely sign it into law given it was introduced by members of his En Marche party and his past support for LGBTQ rights.

France’s equality minister, Elisabeth Moreno, tweeted that she was “very happy” that the legislation had passed.

“No, being yourself is not a crime,” Moreno wrote. “No, there is nothing to heal.”

Moreno called conversion therapy an “unbearable [attack] on human integrity.”

“Homosexuality and trans-identity are not diseases that can be cured,” she said. “There is nothing to cure.”

France’s European affairs minister, Clement Beaune, who is gay, tweeted that he was “proud” of the legislation after the vote.

Should Macron sign the ban into law, France will become one of a growing number of countries that have banned conversion therapy, after Canadian lawmakers approved a similar measure earlier this month.

In the U.S., 24 states plus the District of Columbia have banned conversion therapy, whether through legislation or executive order, with Minnesota becoming the latest to do so earlier this year.

The United Nations last year urged a global ban on conversion therapy, labelling it “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment” and saying it “may amount to torture depending on the circumstances.”

Research has found that conversion therapy more than doubles the risk of suicidal ideation among gay and bisexual adults, while transgender people subjected to conversion therapy as children are four times more likely to attempt suicide.

In addition, a number of former “ex-gay” leaders, who touted the efficacy of conversion therapy have since come out as gay and decried the practice, admitting the harm it can cause to LGBTQ people.

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