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EuroPride 2015: Thousands of people gather for gay pride parade in Riga

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Riga: Some 5,000 people took to the streets of the Latvian capital for a gay pride parade, the culminating event of the EuroPride 2015 week which took place here from June 15-20.

Dressed in colourful outfits and costumes, and holding flags and posters calling for the acceptance of different lifestyles, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders, as well as their friends and supporters marched through the streets here to the beats of cheerful music on Saturday, Xinhua reported.

A crowd had also gathered to watch the parade, with some shouting their disapproval while others showing their support for the march.

The parade was joined by many guests from foreign countries as well, notably a number of ambassadors and politicians from European parliament.

Three arrests were made for what police described as minor disturbances of public order. Among those briefly detained was Andris Orols, the leader of a Latvian NGO, which staged a counter-demonstration against the EuroPride 2015 parade. (IANS)

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Spain’s Health Minister to Abolish Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’

Promoting or carrying out conversion therapy is banned in the region of Madrid, regardless of whether the person undergoing it has consented or not. Punishments include fines of up to 45,000 euros ($51,000)

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gay conversion therapy
People protest against the decision of a Brazilian judge who approved gay conversion therapy in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Sept. 22, 2017. VOA

Spain’s health minister called on Wednesday for so-called conversion therapy to be abolished after a report that a branch of the Catholic Church had offered to “cure” gay people.

El Diario, an online newspaper, said a reporter posing as a gay man trying to change his sexuality was told to stop watching porn and masturbate less in a counselling session provided by a diocese of the Catholic Church close to the capital Madrid. Its representatives called the report “fake news.”

Minister expresses regret

But Maria Luisa Carcedo Roces, Spain’s minister for health, consumption and social welfare, expressed regret that the practice persisted, saying it was illegal and calling for it to be “completely abolished.”

“I thought that in Spain, accepting the various sexual orientations was assumed in all areas, but unfortunately we see that there are still pockets where people are told what their sexual orientation should be,” she said at a press conference.

gay conversion therapy
Promoting or carrying out conversion therapy is banned in the region of Madrid, regardless of whether the person undergoing it has consented or not. Punishments include fines of up to 45,000 euros ($51,000). Pixabay

“I regret that this is happening and that a law is being broken,” she said, according to an audio recording sent to the Thomson Reuters Foundation by the ministry press office.

Conversion therapy, which can include hypnosis and electric shocks, is based on the belief that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is a mental illness that can be cured.

Promoting or carrying out conversion therapy is banned in the region of Madrid, regardless of whether the person undergoing it has consented or not. Punishments include fines of up to 45,000 euros ($51,000).

‘Fake news’

In a statement on its website the diocese of Alcala de Henares called the report “fake news” and said that while it acknowledged the “respect and love due to all people,” it would offer help to “all those who freely request it.”

Books recommended on the Alcala diocese website include “How to prevent homosexuality: children and gender confusion.”

 

gay conversion therapy
El Diario said the therapist at the Regina Familiae counselling center had told the undercover reporter that she “could go to jail” for trying to help him become straight. Pixabay

The minister also said offering such courses to children would contravene their rights, and that if the law continued to be broken, the Department of Justice would have to decide what action to take.

El Diario said the therapist at the Regina Familiae counselling center had told the undercover reporter that she “could go to jail” for trying to help him become straight.

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Treatment outlawed

Malta, Ecuador and just over a dozen U.S. states have outlawed conversion therapy, according to the ILGA, a network of LGBT+ rights groups. Countries including Britain, New Zealand and Australia are considering bans.

A fifth of gay, lesbian and bisexual British people who have tried to change their sexuality have attempted suicide, according to a study of the controversial practice in Britain that was released in February. (VOA)