The European Parliament has for the first time in its 66-year history, officially spoken out against attempts to “cure” LGBTI people, in what is commonly known as “conversion therapy.”
Announcing new amendments and additions to the parliament’s annual report on the state of fundamental rights in the European Union, the parliament will now officially condemn the practice of LGBTI conversion therapy, after it was adopted with a large majority of 435 in favour, 109 against, and 70 abstentions.
The amendment states that the European Parliament, “welcomes initiatives prohibiting LGBTI conversion therapies and banning the pathologisation of trans identities and urges all Member States to adopt similar measures that respect and uphold the right to gender identity and gender expression.”
Conversion therapy which is intended to essentially change the sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of LGBTI people, is built on the belief that being LGBTI is abnormal.
Despite many outlandish and absurd claims, The World Psychiatric Association and many other mental health bodies have asserted and assured that trying to “cure” LGBTI people and the use of such “conversion therapies” simply does not work, and is, in fact, both dangerous and unethical.
“The UN Committee Against Torture, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Human Rights Committee have already condemned the practice of conversion therapy in several countries,” explained Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, who is the vice-president of the LGBTI Intergroup at the European Parliament.
“Today, for the first time ever, the European Parliament is taking a stance against LGBTI conversion therapies. This report is an example of how the EU can be at the forefront of the fight for fundamental rights,” she said.
Currently, in Europe, such conversion therapies are banned in some regions in Spain as well as in Malta. While not illegal in the United Kingdom, England’s National Health Service (NHS) has told its staff to stop referring patients for conversion therapy.
The newly adopted EU human rights report also backs using education as a means to fight homophobia, and calls for quick, accessible, and transparent legal gender recognition procedures, while reiterating the need to fight discrimination against intersex people, as well as the need to protect LGBTI EU citizens against discrimination in all areas of life, including education and provision of goods and services.
Furthermore, an amendment urging all member states to guarantee freedom of movement for same-sex couples and their families was also adopted.
Terry Reintke MEP, co-president and Malin Björk MEP, vice-president of the European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup, says that “Despite great progress in many countries over the last decade, discrimination against LGBTI people is still a reality in the EU.”
“LGBTI people should be free from discrimination, bullying, and violence. Their right to self-determination should be guaranteed, and their bodily integrity protected.”
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