Friday September 20, 2019

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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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.”

 

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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.

ALSO READ: One in Five Deaths Globally Due to Overconsumption of Sugar, Salt and Meat

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)

Next Story

India Set to Acquire First Dedicated LGBT Hiring Consultancy Firm

"We have over 50 companies, who are very interested in hiring from the LGBTI talent pool," Sinha said

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"We have over 50 companies, who are very interested in hiring from the LGBTI talent pool," Sinha said. Pixabay

Almost a year after the landmark Supreme Court judgement decriminalising homosexuality, India is set to get its first dedicated hiring consultancy firm for the members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning) community.

At present, even after the change in law, members of India’s LGBTQ community lag behind their western counterparts in attaining equal pay, corporate representation and other benefits.

Accordingly, the Bengaluru-based Diversity & Inclusion firm — Pride Circle — plans to shatter some of these stereotypes via a dedicated wing which will look at the job consultancy market for the LGBTQ candidates.

“There is a lot of systemic bias and roadblock for LGBTI job seekers, these becomes even more challenging for visibly LGBT individuals,” Pride Circle’s Co-Founder Ramkrishna Sinha told IANS.

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“The companies which participated in the job fair were delighted by the candidates they met, five candidates already got confirmed job offers from the fair.” VOA

“Our goal is to work with companies to eliminate such conscious or unconscious biases in the recruitment process and also work with candidates to enable them for facing interviews. A lot of LGBT candidates face issues of self-esteem, due to the series of discrimination they have faced.”

Not just unemployment of LGBTQ candidates, even the lack of sensitisation and unfriendly policies towards businesses that cater to this internationally significant segment of consumers has led to an estimated loss of around $30 billion to India’s GDP as per a World Bank report.

The 2014 World Bank report — Economic Cost of Homophobia and the exclusion of LGBTQ people: A case of India — estimated the country to have lost 0.1-1.7 per cent of the GDP due to homophobia.

“Companies have been hesitant in engaging and at times are unaware of the method to that engagement. The siloes leads to stereotypes and misinformation on both ends, leading to a growing chasm, our aim to build platforms of engagement for the community and corporation to meet,” Sinha said.

“We are encouraging corporations to have avenues of dialogue, look at opportunities to engage besides a full time job, and these could be fellowship, internship, skill building programs etc.”

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Additionally, the firm aims to organise the job fair in 10 cities over the next 18-24 months. The firm is hopeful to place at least 1,000 LGBTQ candidates within a year. Pixabay

Globally, this segment known generically as — Pink Dollar Economy — has become a financially significant sub-section of the consumer market for various industries like travel, insurance and even white goods.

Recently, the firm organised India’s first LGBTQ job fair — RISE (Reimagining Inclusion for Social Equity) — in Bengaluru. Over 40 companies participated in the event including the likes of Uber and Intel.

ALSO READ: People Feel it’s Time for Gay Marriage to Be Made Legal in India

Besides, the job fair saw a participation of more than 300 LGBTQ candidates for various sectors in IT, banking and administration. “We have over 50 companies, who are very interested in hiring from the LGBT talent pool,” Sinha said.

“The companies which participated in the job fair were delighted by the candidates they met, five candidates already got confirmed job offers from the fair.” Additionally, the firm aims to organise the job fair in 10 cities over the next 18-24 months. The firm is hopeful to place at least 1,000 LGBTQ candidates within a year. (IANS)