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Belgium working towards ban on conversion therapy for LGBTQI+ people

09:05 12/05/2022

Sarah Schlitz, Belgium’s secretary of state for gender equality, equal opportunities and diversity, is currently working on banning conversion therapies in Belgium, RTBF reports.

So-called "conversion therapies" are practices that aim to change, suppress or eliminate the sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression of LGBTQI+ people. These practices range from psychotherapy and electroshock to beatings and even "corrective rape". They can take place in religious, medical, sectarian fields, whether through relatives or pseudo-professionals and have far-reaching consequences on the people on whom they are practiced.

The ban will follow a European Parliament resolution calling on EU member states to introduce legislation to end these conversion practices as soon as possible. Very recently, Germany and France introduced the criminalisation of these practices. Outside the EU, Israel and Canada also prohibit them.

"This ban is a strong act to protect victims from this symbolic, psychological and sometimes physical violence,” said Sarah Schlitz, in her statement released on Wednesday. “It is also a question of sending a signal to the rest of society: those who are not sick should not be treated."

Written by Nick Amies