Lawmakers in Germany have approved a
bill that prohibits therapies that attempt to alter the sexual
orientation or gender identity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed the
legislation introduced by Health Minister Jens Spahn, who is gay.
Such therapies go by names such as
“conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy,” “sexual
orientation change efforts” or “ex-gay therapy.”
Germany is only the fifth nation with
such a ban after Malta, Ecuador, Brazil, and Taiwan.
German LGBT advocate LSVD welcomed the
ban in a statement posted on its website but expressed concern that
it doesn't go far enough.
The group said that the ban should
include people up to age 26 and that legal guardians should be held
accountable if they participated in such therapies.
Jessica Stern, executive director of
OutRight Action International, said in a statement that the ban sent
“a powerful message that LGBTIQ people are not in need of change or
“At the same time,” Stern
continued, “demand for 'conversion therapy' will only decrease if
acceptance of LGBTIQ people grows. I urge authorities in Germany to
bolster the legal ban on 'conversion therapy' with measures designed
to promote understanding and inclusion of LGBTIQ people, thus
tackling the root causes of these harmful, inhuman practices.”
In the United States, 20 states plus
the District of Columbia have similar bans.