The UK government’s plan to ban ‘gay cure’, conversion therapy practices have been welcomed, but it now also needs to convince other nations to follow suit.
‘It is of course welcome that the Government are looking to ban dangerous and damaging conversion therapies – but we must remain painfully aware that no such measures are being taken in most other countries around the world’, Christian preacher the Reverend Steve Chalke told Gay Star News.
‘Britain once played its part in exporting homophobic legislation to the Commonwealth’, he said. ‘Now we need to correct that legacies with a robust and pro-active foreign policy which works tirelessly to ensure that LGBT equality measures are enshrined across the globe.’
It is currently illegal to even be gay in 37 of the 53 nations that are part of the British Commonwealth.
Slow progress in Europe
In Europe, the only country to have completely banned the practice so far is Malta, which made conversion therapy illegal in 2016. Under the new law, anyone who tries to change or alter someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression can be fined or jailed.
Earlier this year the European Parliament took a stance against conversion therapies for the first time. The position came in the EU’s Annual Report on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU.
US states vary on ‘sex cure’ laws
According to a recent Williams Institute report into conversion therapy among LGBTI youth, only nine US states and the District of Columbia had passed statutes limiting or banning its use. Most of those states are located on the east or west coasts of the country.
However, ‘more states are expected to consider conversion therapy bans in 2018’, the Institute noted
It’s a similar picture in Australia, where most of the country is yet to ban the practice, which is often referred to as the ‘gay cure’. However, a number of states are now moving to outlaw the practice.
In May this year, leaders of the states of Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory said they planned to pass legislation banning the treatment.
Almost all of the African continent allows conversion therapy techniques to be carried out. The same goes for the entire Indian subcontinent, Russia and Asia. In China bans are enforced on a case-by-case basis.
‘Banning gay conversion therapy is the right thing to do’, said human rights activist and LGBTI campaigner, Peter Tatchell, commenting on the UK ban. ‘It doesn’t work and it is deeply offensive to try to change a fundamental, natural and widespread human characteristic.’
Britain became the second European nation to ban the conversion therapy as part of its action plan to tackle abuse of the LGBTI community.