French deputies approved a law on Tuesday to ban sexual “reorientation therapies”which seek to impose normative heterosexuality on lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals, and punish their organizers with up to three years in prison.
“Reorientation therapies, barbaric practices from another era, are now definitively prohibited in our country. Nothing to cure”, tweeted the Minister of Equality, Élisabeth Moreno, after the unanimous vote in the National Assembly (lower house).
The bill provides for the inclusion of a new crime in the Penal Code that punishes these practices with two years in prison and 30,000 euros ($34,000) fine, a penalty that can amount to three years and 45,000 ($50,700) in certain cases.
These practices that claim to “cure” homosexuals are little known. In 2019, legislators Laurence Vanceunebrock (liberal) and Bastien Lachaud (leftist) evoked a hundred recent cases and warned of the increase.
The “reorientation therapies” they can take the form of exorcism sessions, hospitalizations or electroshock, among a range of abuses that have lasting psychological and physical effects on the often young victims.
Several recent reports or testimonials received a great deal of media attention. Very popular singers among young French people like Eddy de Pretto and Hoshi even urged deputies to act.
With the adoption of this law, France is following in the footsteps of other countries such as Germany, Malta and some Spanish regions, to which Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom will soon join. In Canada, lawmakers approved a similar proposal in June
This proposal, which also received the approval of the Senate, It allows the government of the liberal president, Emmanuel Macron, to defend a more social image months before the presidential election in April and to reach out to the electorate of the centre-left.
What are conversion therapies? Are psychiatric, psychological and even spiritual “treatments” with the aim of changing sexual orientation, the identity, or the gender expression of those people different from one cisgender binary heterosexuality. Sessions that promise to “cure” those who undergo them, when in reality they are a type of torture for LGBTQ+ people.
There are records that lead to physical abuse, deprivation of liberty, economic violence and even gang rape.
There are different types: therapies based on religion and medicine, frequently carried out by religious institutions, include practices such as saying prayers and taking medication. Some reports state that the therapies include the consumption of medicines such as Ludomil and Dogmatil, chemicals used to treat psychological or neurological disorders.
Although the therapy begins by scrutinizing a trauma in the patients’ childhood, there are records that these “therapies” They have included deprivation of liberty, torture, corrective violations, medicalization of bodies and family rejection.
(With information from AFP)
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