Conversion therapy is the
practice of attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender
identity. It has widely been rejected as no scientific data exists that proves
the “therapy” works. The Human Rights Campaign views conversion therapy as “dangerous and discredited”.
Steffen Seibert, a government
about the bill, “The government’s goal is to protect people’s right to sexual
self-determination.” He additionally explained that Germany has also banned
conversion therapy for adults with diminished decision-making capacities and
has outlawed advertising conversion therapy.
Individuals who do not adhere
to the new laws could face up to a year in prison and €30,000 in fines.
German Health Minister Jens
Spahn said of the new legislation, “A ban is also an important sign for
all those struggling with their sexuality: it is okay to be as you are.” Spahn additionally remarked, “Homosexuality is not an
illness, therefore the word ‘therapy’ is already misleading. This so-called
therapy makes people sick instead of well.”
As with many governments that
have outlawed forms of conversion therapy, it will remain legal in Germany for
consenting and able adults to participate. The German government has made clear
however that there is no scientific data that supports conversion therapy being
“successful” and the practice is often damaging to the individual going through
Earlier this year Puerto Rico also banned conversion therapy for minors. In the U.S. 18 states have partial bans on conversion therapy practices.
What laws exist around conversion therapy in your area? What resources and supports for LGBTQ+ people exist?