Across Europe, LGBTI people are being exposed to a horrifying practice, just for being who they are through so-called “conversion therapy”.
“Conversion therapy” is an unscientific and homophobic attempt to change LGBTI identities and can take the form of beatings, rape, force-feeding, physical and verbal abuse, humiliation, starvation, confinement or electrocution (1). It’s typically done to children and young people by medical professionals, religious authorities, schools, “conversion camps” as well as parents (2). International experts have deemed that “conversion therapy” constitutes a form of torture (3).
It goes without saying - the impact of physically and psychologically torturing children is immense - and it is often irreversible.
Suicide attempts are several times higher among people who have undergone “conversion therapy” than among other LGBTI people (4). While there is only limited data about the secretive practice, it is estimated that 1000-2000 people are subjected to “conversion therapy” every year in Germany alone (5).
But times are changing. Full or partial bans of “conversion therapy” have been put in place in Malta, Germany and Albania. There are attempts to ban “conversion therapy” in France, Ireland, Poland, the UK and Austria, and the European Parliament has called upon all EU member states to ban it (6).
If we can push that momentum as hard as we can, we could unlock a flooddgate of pressure for all countries in Europe to ban it, so we can protect LGBTI youth from irreversible harm.
We call upon the Council of Europe and its member states to:
We also call upon the European Commission to include the eradication of “conversion therapy” in the EU LGBTI Strategy by addressing the above-mentioned demands.