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Dutch government uncovers anti-LGBT+ ‘conversion therapy’ holiday camps

Dutch government uncovers anti-LGBT+ ‘conversion therapy’ holiday camps

  • The Netherlands is considering a legal ban on the harmful ‘gay cures’.
Person sitting in window.

There are at least 15 organizations and individuals still offering ‘conversion therapy’ to turn LGBT+ people straight in the Netherlands.

That’s according to the Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports as it considers banning the so-called ‘cures’.

Its research found the treatments sometimes take place in holiday camps and workshops.

Moreover, nearly all those who went through ‘conversion therapy’ suffered psychological problems afterwards. These included depression, suicidal thoughts and eating disorders, sexual issues and loneliness.

In a statement the ministry said: ‘Within a religious context, there are various initiatives, agencies and individuals which have emerged in this research that – in neutral terms – attempt to help people with a non-heterosexual orientation.

‘There are 15 organisations or individuals who may also organise peripheral activities (eg holiday camps, seminars and workshops) in which a non-heterosexual orientation is regarded as problematic and attempts are made to “remedy” this.’

Older LGBT+ people vulnerable too

Leading health organizations around the world condemn so-called LGBT+ ‘cures’ as dangerous and futile.

But politicians around the world are now calling for legal bans on ‘conversion therapy’.

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, requested the health ministry’s study. The NL Times says the Tweede Kamer has a majority in favor of making the ‘cures’ illegal.

Many parliamentarians fear young people from strict religious communities are particularly vulnerable to the ‘therapies’.

But the researchers find that young people, particularly in Orthodox Christian faith communities, are under so much pressure to not be LGBT+ they do not come out until their early 20s or later.

As a result, the ‘therapists’ rarely treat teenagers.

Meanwhile the researchers also found that people who grow up learning that God does not accept homosexuality carry that view well into adulthood. This leaves them frightened of their orientation and wanting to ‘fix’ it. 

That means a ban may have to cover everyone, not just minors, and include those who volunteer for treatment in order to protect everyone who is vulnerable.

‘Conversion therapy’ bans around the world

International LGBT+ organization ILGA World has predicted 2020 could be a breakthrough year for ending ‘conversion therapy’.

The Netherlands is one of a number of countries to be considering a ban. Others include the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and Chile.

So far only Malta, Ecuador, Brazil, Taiwan and Germany have banned ‘conversion therapy’ in law.

Meanwhile Albania also banned the treatments this year. But its ban is not a law. It only covers therapy professionals and only carries professional sanctions.

However, there are partial, de-facto or regional bans in countries including China, Switzerland and Spain. 

Moreover, there are bans in 20 US states: New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Colorado, Utah and Virginia as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.