Greece’s government banned conversion therapy for minors, a practice aimed at suppressing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and which the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community worldwide, as well as health experts, have condemned as harmful.
Under the bill, which Greece’s parliament approved, psychologists or other health professionals need a person’s explicit consent to perform such treatment and face fines and a prison term if they violate the law. The bill also bans advertising such practices.
Conversion therapy has been banned in twenty states in the United States but is still practiced widely in regions with heavy religious influence. Nearly every major American medical group has condemned the practice of trying to change people’s sexuality or gender identities.
The Greek government has drafted a national strategy that runs until 2025 on reforms promoting gender equality in Greece, a largely conservative country.
Alex Patelis, a senior advisor to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, heralded the decision in a Tweet. “Today Greece became one of the first countries worldwide to ban so-called LGBTQ ‘conversion therapies. So proud,” Patelis Tweeted.
Canada, New Zealand and France criminalized conversion therapy earlier this year.
“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'”, Health Minister Thanos Plevris told parliament this week.
“Obviously these treatments not only are not a therapy but they are not supported scientifically,” the minister said.
Plevris added that Greece also plans to ban surgeries on intersex infants and babies born with atypical chromosomes that affect their reproductive anatomy in a way that does not fit with the normative definition of male or female.
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