This Is The First Country In Europe To Make Conversion Therapy Illegal

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Conversion therapy, the practice of attempting to make an LGBT person straight and/or cisgender, is now illegal in the Mediterranean country of Malta, Times of Malta reports.

The Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Bill states that offering or promoting services aimed at changing someone's gender identity or sexual orientation can lead to a fine of €1,000-5,000 or land you in jail.

Malta is the first country in Europe to introduce legislation like this.

Conversion therapy is hotly debated in the U.S. While Mike Pence has advocated the practice, five states and Washington, D.C. have banned its use on children. Legislator Patrick Burke recently introduced a bill named after Pence — the Prevention of Emotional Neglect and Childhood Endangerment bill — to ban it in Erie County, New York. A government report released last year called for an end to conversion therapy nationwide.

The World Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association don't consider conversion therapy to be effective or necessary. To the contrary, it can harm people by subjecting them to slurs, humiliation, and physical pain.

"Not only does it reject a group of individuals on the basis of unfound prejudice and lack of tolerance for diversity," a Malta Chamber of Psychologists representative told Malta Today, "it impinges on the international recognition of LGBTIQ rights."
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