Friday April 19, 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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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)

Next Story

Tech Giant Google Dropped From LGBT Equality Index

Google has not yet commented on the matter

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Google, smart compose
The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

An anti-LGBTQ app on the PlayStore that influences a person’s sexual orientation using psychological or spiritual interventions has raised questions about Google’s corporate equality ideals leading to the search engine’s suspension from the CEI rating.

The app “Conversation therapy” originates from a non-profit organisation — Living Hope Ministries — which “proclaims a Christ-centred, Biblical world-view of sexual expression rooted in one man and one woman in a committed, monogamous, heterosexual marriage for life because anything less than this ideal falls short of God’s best for humanity”.

US-based LGBTQ civil rights advocacy group — Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation — has suspended Google from its 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for failing to remove the app from PlayStore, USA Today reported on Thursday.

The CEI is a report published by the HRC Foundation as a tool to rate American businesses on their treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) employees, consumers and investors.

“Pending remedial steps by the company to address this app that can cause harm to the LGBTQ community, the CEI rating is suspended,” the report noted.

LGBT, Thailand
Thai LGBT community participates in Gay Freedom Day Parade in Bangkok, Thailand. VOA

“Conversation therapy” is a practice that is used to influence a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity using psychological or spiritual interventions.

Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have removed the app from their platforms and currently, petition-filing platform Change.org has collected over 1,40,000 signatures for removal of this app from PlayStore.

Google’s suspension from the CEI comes as a shock especially because the company has been known to support the LGBTQ community.

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In 2018, Google scored a full 100 per cent on the CEI report.

Google has not yet commented on the matter. (IANS)